School choice and accountability have become popular educational policies in the US and the UK. In Europe, such policies are less often applied and therefore less subject to research. The present paper uses recent international data to study the relation between schools comparing their pupil’s results to a regional or national performance standard and that of regional school choice and students' test scores. School performance comparisons and school choice by parents are assumed to complement eachother in increasing both school and teacher effort. We estimate an education production function controlling for the hierarchical nature of the data. We also estimate our model using quantiles of student test scores to identify potentially different effects at different levels of student performance. We find that both a higher regional percentage of schools comparing their results and regional intensity of school choice are related to significantly higher student test scores. This positive relation varies in size according to whether we consider low or high-performing students.
Sprietsma, Maresa (2006), Regional school comparison and school choice : how do they relate to student performance?, ECON Discussion Paper, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve. Download