Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2012:5: Long-term effects of class size

Peter Fredriksson (), Björn Öckert () and Hessel OOsterbeek ()
Additional contact information
Peter Fredriksson: Stockholm University, Postal: Stockholm, Sweden
Björn Öckert: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Hessel OOsterbeek: University of Amsterdam

Abstract: This paper evaluates the long-term effects of class size in primary school. We use rich administrative data from Sweden and exploit variation in class size created by a maximum class size rule. Smaller classes in the last three years of primary school (age 10 to 13) are not only beneficial for cognitive test scores at age 13 but also for non-cognitive scores at that age, for cognitive test scores at ages 16 and 18, and for completed education and wages at age 27 to 42. The estimated effect on wages is much larger than any indirect (imputed) estimate of the wage effect, and is large enough to pass a cost-benefit test.

Keywords: Class size; regression discontinuity; cognitive skills; non-cognitive skills; educational attainment; earnings

JEL-codes: C31; I21; I28; J24

33 pages, February 13, 2012

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