NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Does Money Matter? Regression-Discontinuity Estimates from Education Finance Reform in Massachusetts

Jonathan Guryan

NBER Working Paper No. 8269
Issued in May 2001
NBER Program(s):   CH   LS

The paper studies a typical state-level education finance equalization scheme, and considers two questions. First, what fraction of state education aid is spent on schools? And second, does increased educational funding for historically low-spending districts lead to improved student achievement? Estimates based on variation in spending caused by state aid formulas suggest that 50 to 75 cents of each dollar of education aid were spent on schools. Estimates also suggest that increased spending improved 4 th -grade test scores, but show no effect on 8 th -grade test scores. Further analysis shows that increases in 4 th -grade average test scores were associated with improved performance by low-scoring students.

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