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Journal article
Smart but unhappy: Independent-school competition and the wellbeing-efficiency trade-off in education
Gabriel Heller-Sahlgren February 2018

Economics of Education Review 62, 2018
DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2017.10.005

Tags: human capital; independent-school competition; wellbeing-efficiency trade-off;

We study whether independent-school competition involves a trade-off between pupil wellbeing and academic performance. To test this hypothesis, we analyse data covering pupils across the OECD, exploiting historical Catholic opposition to state schooling for exogenous variation in independent-school enrolment shares. We find that independent-school competition decreases pupil wellbeing but raises achievement and lowers educational costs. Our analysis and balancing tests indicate these findings are causal. In addition, we find several mechanisms behind the trade-off, including more traditional teaching and stronger parental achievement pressure.

DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2017.10.005