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Title: Essays in the economics of education : school resource decisions and student achievement
Author: Sibieta, Luke
ISNI:       0000 0004 9359 4871
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis contains three papers on school resource decisions and the implications for student achievement. Chapter 1 provides an introduction and describes how the three papers extend the academic literature. Chapter 2 studies the implications of an individual school offering higher teacher salaries from within a fixed budget. It exploits a natural experiment that forces some schools within a local area to pay teachers according to higher salary scales, but does not offer any extra funding. Schools largely follow this regulation and balance their budgets by making sizeable reductions in other expenditures. There is no evidence of any overall effect on pupil attainment. The paper argues that the positive effect of higher teacher pay is countered by the negative effects of reductions in other expenditure. Existing evidence shows how cash incentives can be used to improve teacher retention in hard-to-staff subjects, like maths and science. Chapter 3 extends this literature by studying the effectiveness of incentives to recruit new teachers. I evaluate the effects of an up-front cash payment worth up to £25,000 for teachers training in hard-to-staff subjects and who have high levels of college attainment. Using a triple-difference approach, I find no impact on the number of teachers or the distribution of educational attainment among teachers. Chapter 4 uses the synthetic control approach to estimate the effects of an area-wide campaign to improve the ways in which teaching assistants are used across a large, disadvantaged area of England. The results suggest the campaign increased English scores by a modest amount of about 0.03-0.04 standard deviations, with no evidence of an improvement in maths. The impact estimates are larger than under matching and difference-in-differences, suggesting that being able to relax assumptions of parallel trends and balance in unobservables represents a major advantage of synthetic control approaches.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available