Empirical Economics

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 433–464

What accounts for international differences in student performance? A re-examination using PISA data

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00181-006-0087-0

Cite this article as:
Fuchs, T. & Wößmann, L. Empirical Economics (2007) 32: 433. doi:10.1007/s00181-006-0087-0

Abstract

We use the PISA student-level achievement database to estimate international education production functions. Student characteristics, family backgrounds, home inputs, resources, teachers and institutions are all significantly associated with math, science and reading achievement. Our models account for more than 85% of the between-country performance variation, with roughly 25% accruing to institutional variation. Student performance is higher with external exams and budget formulation, but also with school autonomy in textbook choice, hiring teachers and within-school budget allocations. Autonomy is more positively associated with performance in systems that have external exit exams. Students perform better in privately operated schools, but private funding is not decisive.

Keywords

Education production functionPISAInternational variation in student performanceInstitutional effects in schooling

JEL classification

I28J24H52L33

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ifo Institute for Economic ResearchMunichGermany
  2. 2.Ifo Institute for Economic ResearchUniversity of Munich and CESifoMunichGermany