Choice, Competition and Pupil Achievement

54 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2006

See all articles by Stephen Gibbons

Stephen Gibbons

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment

Stephen J. Machin

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics

Olmo Silva

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment; London School of Economics (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: July 2006

Abstract

Choice and competition in education have found growing support from both policy makers and academics in the recent past. Yet, evidence on the actual benefits of market-oriented reforms is at best mixed. Moreover, while the economic rationale for choice and competition is clear, in existing work there is rarely an attempt to distinguish between the two concepts. In this paper, we study whether pupils in Primary schools in England with a wider range of school choices achieve better academic outcomes than those whose choice is more limited; and whether Primary schools facing more competition perform better than those in a more monopolistic situation. In simple least squares regression models, we find little evidence of a link between choice and achievement, but uncover a small positive association between competition and school performance. Yet, this could be related to endogenous school location or pupil sorting. In fact, an instrumental variable strategy based on discontinuities generated by admissions district boundaries suggests that the performance gains from greater school competition are limited. Only when we restrict our attention to Faith autonomous schools, which have more freedom in managing their admission practices and governance, do we find evidence of a positive causal link between competition and pupil achievement.

Keywords: choice, competition, primary schools, pupil achievement

JEL Classification: I20, H70, R5

Suggested Citation

Gibbons, Stephen and Machin, Stephen J. and Silva, Olmo, Choice, Competition and Pupil Achievement (July 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2214. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=921053

Stephen Gibbons

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
[44] (0)20 7955 6245 (Phone)
[44] (0)20 7955 7773 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.lse.ac.uk/people/s.gibbons@lse.ac.uk/

Stephen J. Machin

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Olmo Silva (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

London School of Economics (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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