Why Don't Schools and Teachers Seem to Matter?: Assessing the Impact of Unobservables on Educational Productivity

JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCES, Summer 1997

Posted: 24 Jan 1997

See all articles by Dominic J. Brewer

Dominic J. Brewer

University of Southern California - Rossier School of Education

Dan Goldhaber

The Urban Institute

Abstract

In this paper, we use data drawn from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988, which allows students to be linked to particular teachers and classes, to estimate the impact of observable and unobservable schooling characteristics on student outcomes. A variety of models show some schooling resources (in particular, teacher qualifications) to be significant in influencing tenth grade mathematics test scores. Unobservable school, teacher, and class characteristics are important in explaining student achievement but do not appear to be correlated with observable variables in our sample. Thus, our results suggest that the omission of unobservables does not cause biased estimates in standard educational production functions.

JEL Classification: I2

Suggested Citation

Brewer, Dominic J. and Goldhaber, Dan D., Why Don't Schools and Teachers Seem to Matter?: Assessing the Impact of Unobservables on Educational Productivity. JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCES, Summer 1997. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3673

Dominic J. Brewer (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Rossier School of Education ( email )

United States
213 740 0697 (Phone)
213 749 2707 (Fax)

Dan D. Goldhaber

The Urban Institute ( email )

2100 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
United States

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