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.
Economics of Education Review
Smart but Unhappy: Independent–school Competition and the Wellbeing–efficiency Trade–off in Education
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