NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

In a Small Moment: Class Size and Moral Hazard in the Mezzogiorno

Joshua D. Angrist, Erich Battistin, Daniela Vuri

NBER Working Paper No. 20173
Issued in May 2014
NBER Program(s):   CH   DEV   ED   LS   PE

An instrumental variables (IV) identification strategy that exploits statutory class size caps shows significant achievement gains in smaller classes in Italian primary schools. Gains from small classes are driven mainly by schools in Southern Italy, suggesting a substantial return to class size reductions for residents of the Mezzogiorno. In addition to high unemployment and other social problems, however, the Mezzogiorno is distinguished by pervasive manipulation of standardized test scores, a finding revealed in a natural experiment that randomly assigned school monitors. IV estimates also show that small classes increase score manipulation. Estimates of a causal model for achievement with two endogenous variables, class size and score manipulation, suggest that the effects of class size on measured achievement are driven entirely by the relationship between class size and manipulation. Dishonest scoring appears to be a consequence of teacher shirking more than teacher cheating. These findings show how consequential score manipulation can arise even in assessment systems with few NCLB-style accountability concerns.

download in pdf format
   (1191 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20173

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Chetty, Hendren, Kline, Saez, and Turner w19844 Is the United States Still a Land of Opportunity? Recent Trends in Intergenerational Mobility
Acemoglu and Angrist w6670 Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Kleven, Landais, Saez, and Schultz w18885 Migration and Wage Effects of Taxing Top Earners: Evidence from the Foreigners' Tax Scheme in Denmark
Angrist, Autor, Hudson, and Pallais w20800 Leveling Up: Early Results from a Randomized Evaluation of Post-Secondary Aid
Banerjee, Meng, Porzio, and Qian w20050 Aggregate Fertility and Household Savings: A General Equilibrium Analysis using Micro Data
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us