Urban Density and Pupil Attainment

46 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2007

See all articles by Stephen Gibbons

Stephen Gibbons

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

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: April 2007

Abstract

We explore the association between urban density and pupil attainment using three cohorts of pupils in schooling in England. Although - as widely recognised - attainment in dense urban places is low on average, this is not because urban environments disadvantage pupils, but because the most disadvantaged pupils with low average attainments attend the most urbanised schools. To control for this, we exploit changes in urban density faced by pupils during compulsory transition from Primary to Secondary school, and measure educational progress at the end of the Secondary phase, relative to attainment at the end of Primary schooling. Our results suggest that there are small but significant benefits from education in schools in more densely urbanised settings. We detect this density advantage even amongst pupils moving relatively short distances between Primary and Secondary schools within urban areas, so we cannot attribute it to broad urbanisation effects experienced by pupils making rural-urban school moves. A more likely explanation lies in greater school choice and competition between closely co-located educational providers.

Keywords: urban density and agglomeration, school choice and competition, pupil achievement

JEL Classification: I20, R20, J24

Suggested Citation

Gibbons, Stephen and Silva, Olmo, Urban Density and Pupil Attainment (April 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2728. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=982121

Stephen Gibbons (Contact Author)

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/

Olmo Silva

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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