Does Class Size Matter for School Tracking Outcomes after Elementary School? Quasi-Experimental Evidence Using Administrative Panel Data from Germany

28 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2017

See all articles by Bethlehem Argaw

Bethlehem Argaw

Leibniz Universität Hannover

Patrick A. Puhani

Leibniz Universität Hannover; University of St. Gallen - Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied Economic Research; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas

Abstract

We use administrative panel data on about a quarter of a million students in the German state of Hesse to estimate the causal effect of class size on school tracking outcomes after elementary school. Our identification strategy relies on the quasi-random assignment of students to different class sizes based on maximum class size rules. In Germany, students are tracked into more or less academic middle school types at about age ten based, to a large extent, on academic achievement in elementary school. We mostly find no or small effects of class size in elementary school on receiving a recommendation or on the actual choice to attend the more academic middle school type. For male students, we find that an increase in class size by 10 students would reduce their chance of attending the higher school track – which more than 40 percent of students attend – by 3 percentage points.

Keywords: class size, panel, administrative data, education production

JEL Classification: I21, I28

Suggested Citation

Argaw, Bethlehem and Puhani, Patrick A., Does Class Size Matter for School Tracking Outcomes after Elementary School? Quasi-Experimental Evidence Using Administrative Panel Data from Germany. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11208, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3092532

Bethlehem Argaw (Contact Author)

Leibniz Universität Hannover ( email )

Welfengarten 1
D-30167 Hannover, 30167
Germany

Patrick A. Puhani

Leibniz Universität Hannover ( email )

Institut für Arbeitsökonomik
Koenigsworther Platz 1
30167 Hannover, DE 30167
Germany

University of St. Gallen - Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied Economic Research ( email )

Dufourstr. 48
St. Gallen, 9000
Switzerland
+41 71 224 2341 (Phone)
+41 71 224 2298 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas

12 place du Pantheon
Paris cedex 06, 75231
France

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