Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Research Papers in Economics,
Stockholm University, Department of Economics

No 2015:9: Parental responses to public investments in children: Evidence from a maximum class size rule

Peter Fredriksson (), Bjorn Ockert () and Hessel Oosterbeek ()
Additional contact information
Peter Fredriksson: Stockholm University, IZA, IFAU, and Uppsala Center for Labor Studies (UCLS), Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Bjorn Ockert: Institute for Evaluation of Labor Market and Education Policy (IFAU) and UCLS, Postal: Box 513, 751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Hessel Oosterbeek: University of Amsterdam, Postal: Roetersstraat 11, 1018 WB Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract: We study differential parental responses to variation in class size induced by a maximum class size rule in Swedish schools. In response to an increase in class size: (i) only high- income parents help their children more with homework; (ii) all parents are more likely to move their child to another school; and (iii) only low-income children find their teachers harder to follow when taught in a larger class. These findings indicate that public and private investments in children are substitutes, and help explain why the negative effect of class size on achievement in our data is concentrated among low-income children.

Keywords: Class size; parental responses; social background; regression discontinuity

JEL-codes: C31; I21; I28; J24

54 pages, December 16, 2015

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