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Conceptual and Empirical Issues in the Estimation of Educational Production Functions

Eric A. Hanushek
Published Date: 
Summer 1979
The Journal of Human Resources
pp. 351-388

Measuring educational performance and understanding its determinants are important for designing policies with respect to such varying issues as teacher accountability, educational finance systems, and school integration. Unfortunately, past analyses of student achievement and educational production relationships have been plagued by both a lack of conceptual clarity and a number of potentially severe analytical problems. As a result, there is considerable confusion not only about what has been learned, but also about how such studies should be conducted and what can be learned. This review considers each of these issues and also relates knowledge from these studies to research about areas other than just school operations and performance.

[reprinted in Rendigs Fels and John J. Siegfried, ed., Research on Teaching College Economics. New York: Joint Council on Economic Education, 1982].