Does Class Size Matter in Postgraduate Education?

27 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2019

See all articles by Alessio Gaggero

Alessio Gaggero

University of Nottingham

Getinet A. Haile

Policy Studies Institute (PSI); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Mannheim


The paper examines the impact of class size on postgraduate grades using administrative data from one of the largest Schools of a Russell Group University in the UK. As well as estimating Fixed Effects models on the population of postgraduate candidates in the School, we exploit a policy change aimed at reducing class size to implement a regression discontinuity design (RDD). We find that class size does impact grades adversely overall; and the policy aimed at reducing class size impacts grades favourably. Our findings are robust to alternative specifications as well as being supported by the validity tests we conducted.

Keywords: higher education, class size, grades, RDD

JEL Classification: I21, I23

Suggested Citation

Gaggero, Alessio and Haile, Getinet Astatike, Does Class Size Matter in Postgraduate Education?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12628. Available at SSRN:

Alessio Gaggero (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Getinet Astatike Haile

Policy Studies Institute (PSI) ( email )

50 Hanson Street
London NW1 3SR
United Kingdom
+44 0 20 7911 7504 (Phone)


IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

University of Mannheim

Universitaetsbibliothek Mannheim
Mannheim, 68131

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