Why don't schools and teachers seem to matter? : assessing the impact of unobservables on educational productivity
Using data drawn from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988, which allows students to be linked to particular teachers and classes, the authors estimate the impact of observable and unobservable schooling characteristics on student outcomes. A variety of models show some schooling resources (in particular, teacher qualifications) to be significant in influencing tenth-grade mathematics test scores. Unobservable school, teacher, and class characteristics are important in explaining student achievement but do not appear to be correlated with observable variables in the authors sample. Thus, the authors' results suggest that the omission of unobservables does not cause biased estimates in standard educational production functions.
Originally published in: Journal of Human Resources, v. 32, no. 3, pp. 505-523.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.