London School of Economics Centre for the Economics of Education LSE
Centre for the Economics of Education  (CEE)

CEE Research Projects

The Education and Skills Programme at CEP covers a broad range of issues in the Economics of Education. The below gives some examples of recent and ongoing work under important themes within the Programme: evaluation of school policies; investigation of the importance of peer effects; issues in higher education. If you have questions, please contact the individual researchers or the programme director, Sandra McNally.


Schools - Recent Policy Evaluations

Effects of School Academies?

Stephen Machin and James Vernoit have been working on whether academies deliver better outcomes for their students. They focus on schools that became academies between 2002/3 and 2008/9. They find that an academy school conversion generates a significant improvement in the quality of the pupil intake, pupil performance and (to a lesser extent) on the performance of pupils enrolled in neighbouring schools.
Related publication (pdf): CEE Discussion Paper 123

Effects of School Expenditure?

Steve Gibbons, Sandra McNally and Martina Viarengo have been investigating whether differences across Local Authority boundaries in how much expenditure schools get leads to differences in pupil test outcomes at the end of primary school. Their work shows big effects and is relevant to the effect of the Pupil Premium.
Related publication (pdf): CEE Discussion Paper 128
See also: See Steve Gibbons' blog

Can we Improve Children’s Wellbeing?

Amy Challen and Stephen Machin evaluate the UK Resilience Programme, which aims to build resilience and promote realistic thinking, adaptive coping skills and social problem-solving in children. Their controlled trial of this intervention covers 22 schools, with 2000 pupils participating in programme workshops and another 2000 control group pupils drawn from within the same schools. Among the findings are significant short-term improvement in pupils’ depression symptom scores, school attendance rates, and academic attainment in English.
Download Resilience Report from Department of Education website.

Peer Group Effects

Everybody Needs Good Neighbours?

Steve Gibbons, Olmo Silva and Felix Weinhardt examine if changes in neighbourhood composition are linked to a person’s school performance or behavioural outcomes. They find that such effects are weak or non-existent. Engineering changes in neighbourhood composition through social policy is an ineffective way to influence child outcomes.
Related Publication: IZA Discussion Paper 5980 (pdf)

Non-native speakers of English in the classroom: what are the effects on pupil performance?

Charlotte Geay, Sandra McNally and Shqiponja Telhaj are investigating whether the increasing number of children who do not speak English as a first language has an impact on the educational outcomes of native English speakers by the time they get to the end of primary school. This work is being funded by the Nuffield Foundation and will report in 2012.
See Nuffield Foundation project webpage.

Higher Education

Are School Students Informed?

Martin McGuigan, Sandra McNally and Gill Wyness are investigating how much students know about the costs and benefits of staying on in education and going to university. Using a field experiment in over 50 London schools, they investigate the effectiveness of an information campaign on knowledge, attitudes and aspirations. This research is linked to McNally’s ESRC First Grant. Results are coming soon….

What Are the Effects of Changing Grants and Fees?

Peter Dolton and Li Lin consider this question in England and Wales between 1955 and 2008 during which there have been major changes in who pays for higher education and how. They find that less generous student financial support arrangements have had a significant negative impact on university enrolment.
Related publication: CEE Discussion Paper 127

Does Degree Class Matter?

Shqiponja Telhaj is investigating to what extent UK graduate earnings vary with the degree class awarded. They estimate that the premium for a ‘high’ over a ‘low’ class of degree is 6-9%.

Paying Out and Crowding Out? International Students in UK Higher Education

Richard Murphy and Stephen Machin are investigating the extent to which the large growth in the number of overseas students has an effect on the number of places taken up by domestic students. What effect has there been on the way the higher education system is funded? Current findings indicate that there has not been any displacement effects at Russell Group universities. A discussion paper is coming soon….

Rising Wage Inequality and Postgraduate Education

Stephen Machin and Joanne Linley document an increase in the number of workers with a postgraduate qualification in the United States and Great Britain. Their relative wages have risen over time as compared to all workers and more specifically to graduates with only a college degree. Postgraduate and college only workers are imperfect substitutes in production and there has been a trend increase in the relative demand for postgraduates. These relative demand shifts are significantly correlated with measures of technical change. Over the longer term period, it turns out that the principal beneficiaries of the computer revolution has been those more skilled workers with a postgraduate qualification. This has been an important driver of rising wage inequality amongst graduates over time.
Related Publication (pdf): CEP Discussion Paper 1075