Working Paper: Why is Education Performance so Different Across Latvian Schools?
Working Paper 3/2017
This paper aims at identifying the school characteristics consistently associated with better performance of pupils on state exams. First, we find that exam scores are positively related to school size (the number of pupils in the respective school) and teacher salaries, but negatively – with teacher age. Meanwhile, quantitative inputs like the number of teachers and computers per pupil are not robust determinants of education performance. Second, we show that pupils in urban and rural schools would perform similarly if characteristics of these schools were the same. The Oaxaca–Ransom decomposition fully explains the urban-rural exam score gap by a greater number of pupils and higher teacher salaries in urban schools as well as by different pupil structure; in turn, pupils' ethnic origin plays in favour of rural schools. Finally, Stochastic Frontier Analysis models show that school size is a robust efficiency determinant, while school location in the Riga region or in another big city is not. The bottom line is that structural reforms involving school mergers and a rise in teacher salaries might bring non-negligible dividends in terms of education quality.
Key words: education performance, school size, rural schools, Oaxaca–Ransom decomposition, Stochastic Frontier Analysis
JEL codes: I21, C1