The Effect of Measured School Inputs on Academic Achievement: Evidence from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s Birth Cohorts

The study presented here uses data from the NORC General Social Surveys to explore the effects of measurable school characteristics on student achievement. What separates this study from many others is the use of aggregate data on older cohorts, usually associated with research on the influence of school inputs on earnings. We find substantively large effects, similar in size to those found in many earnings-focused studies. Our results point to the importance of aggregation in modeling the relationship between school imputs and student outcomes, bringing into question causal interpretations of the results of studies using aggregate data to assess school imput effects.