2018

Smart but Unhappy: Independent-school Competition and the Wellbeing-efficiency Trade-off in Education

Reprint No. 2018:5

Author(s): Gabriel Heller SahlgrenYear: 2018 Title: Economics of Education Review Volume (No.): 62 (February) Pages: 66–81
Online article (restrictions may apply)


We study whether independent-school competition involves a trade-off between pupil wellbeing and academic performance. To test this hypothesis, we analyse data covering pupils across the OECD, exploiting historical Catholic opposition to state schooling for exogenous variation in independent-school enrolment shares. We find that independent-school competition decreases pupil wellbeing but raises achievement and lowers educational costs. Our analysis and balancing tests indicate these findings are causal. In addition, we find several mechanisms behind the trade-off, including more traditional teaching and stronger parental achievement pressure.


Reference:
Heller Sahlgren, Gabriel (2018), "Smart but Unhappy: Independent-school Competition and the Wellbeing-efficiency Trade-off in Education". Economics of Education Review 62(February), 66–81.

Gabriel Heller Sahlgren

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Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union in a Changing World Order

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This book explores how the European Union responds to the ongoing challenges to the liberal international order. These challenges arise both within the EU itself and beyond its borders, and put into question the values of free trade and liberal democracy. 

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