Empirical Economics

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 959–973

Can school competition improve standards? The case of faith schools in England


DOI: 10.1007/s00181-015-0949-4

Cite this article as:
Allen, R. & Vignoles, A. Empir Econ (2016) 50: 959. doi:10.1007/s00181-015-0949-4


This paper measures the extent to which the presence of state-funded Catholic secondary schools in England alters the educational experiences of pupils who attend neighbouring schools, whether through school effort induced by competition or changes in peer groups induced by sorting. National administrative data are used to estimate pupil test score growth models between the ages of 11 and 16, with instrumental variable methods employed to avoid confounding the direct causal effect of Catholic schools. The historical Catholic population, holding constant the current Catholic population, is used to predict current Catholic school supply. We find little evidence that competition from Catholic schools raises area-wide pupil attainment.


School competition Religious schooling School quality 

JEL Classification

H11 I21 I28 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Quantitative Social SciencesUCL Institute of EducationLondonUK
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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