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The effect of school quality on educational attainment and wages

Lorraine Dearden, Javier Ferri and Costas Meghir
Journal article

The paper examines the effects of pupil-teacher ratios and type of school on educational attainment and wages using the British National Child Development Survey (NCDS). The NCDS is a panel survey that follows a cohort of individuals born in March 1958 and has a rich set of background variables recorded throughout the individuals' lives. The results suggest that, once we control for ability and family background, the pupil-teacher ratio has no impact on educational qualifications or on men's wages. It has an impact on women's wages at the age of 33, particularly those of low ability. We also find evidence that those who attend selective schools have better educational outcomes and, in the case of men, higher wages at the age of 33. The impact is greater for the type of individuals who are less likely to attend selective schools but for whom a comparison group does exist among those attending.

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IFS Working Paper W00/22
This paper investigates the impact of pupil-teacher ratios on later life earnings. We find no impact on the earnings of men, but a lower pupil-teacher ratio does increase the earnings of women – particularly low ability women.