Resources and Standards in Urban Schools

40 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2007

See all articles by Stephen J. Machin

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

Sandra McNally

University of Surrey; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Costas Meghir

Yale University; Yale University - Cowles Foundation; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: March 2007

Abstract

Despite being central to government education policy in many countries, there remains considerable debate about whether resources matter for pupil outcomes. In this paper we look at this question by considering an English education policy initiative - Excellence in Cities - which has been a flagship policy aimed at raising standards in inner-city secondary schools. We report results showing a positive impact of the extra resources on school attendance and performance in Mathematics (though not for English) but, interestingly, there is a marked heterogeneity in the effectiveness of the policy. Its greatest impact has been in more disadvantaged schools and on the performance of middle and high ability students within these schools. A back-of-envelope cost-benefit calculation suggests the policy to be cost-effective. We conclude that additional resources can matter for children in the poorest secondary schools, particularly when building on a solid educational or ability background. However, small changes in resources have little or no effect on the "hard to reach" children who have not achieved a sufficiently strong prior level.

Keywords: education, resources, evaluation, disadvantage

JEL Classification: I21, H52, C52

Suggested Citation

Machin, Stephen J. and McNally, Sandra and Meghir, Costas, Resources and Standards in Urban Schools (March 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2653, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=970495

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

Sandra McNally (Contact Author)

University of Surrey ( email )

Guildford
Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH
United Kingdom

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

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Costas Meghir

Yale University ( email )

37 Hillhouse avenue
New Haven, CT CT 06511
United States
+12034323558 (Phone)

Yale University - Cowles Foundation ( email )

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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