Selected Publications

The Contributions of School Quality and Teacher Qualifications to Student Performance: Evidence from

Lai, Fang, Elisabeth Sadoulet, and Alain de Janvry. 2011. "The Contributions of School Quality and Teacher Qualifications to Student Performance: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Beijing Middle School" Journal of Human Resources, 46(1): 123-53.

Abstract

We use administrative data from the lottery-based open enrollment system in Beijing middle schools to obtain unbiased estimates of school fixed effects on student performance. To do this, we classify children in selection channels, with each channel representing a unique succession of lotteries through
which a child was assigned to a school, given his parents’ choice of schools and the schools’ enrollment quotas. Within each channel, students had an equal probability of being assigned to a given school. Results show that school fixed effects are strong determinants of student performance. These fixed effects are shown to be highly correlated with teacher qualifications measured in particular by their official ranks. Furthermore, teacher qualifications have about the same predictive power for student test scores as do school fixed effects, implying that observable aspects ofschool quality almost fully account for the role ofschool quality differences.

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