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The local impact of closing undersized schools

Di Cataldo, Marco and Romani, Giulia (2023) The local impact of closing undersized schools. Geography and Environment Discussion Paper Series (43). Department of Geography and Environment, LSE, London, UK.

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The availability of public education services can influence residential choices. Hence, policies aiming to ‘rationalise’ service provision by reducing the number of undersized nodes in the public school network can lead to population decline. This paper examines the demographic and income effects of primary school closures by exploiting an Italian education reform that resulted in a significant contraction of the school network. We assess whether school closures impact households’ residential choices, on top and beyond preexisting negative population trends that motivate school closures. To address endogeneity, we combine a Two-Way Fixed Effects model with an instrumental variable approach, constructing the IVs based on institutional thresholds for school sizing adopted by some Italian regions. Our findings suggest that municipalities affected by school closures experience significant reductions in population and income. The effect is driven by peripheral municipalities located far from economic centres and distant from the next available primary school. This evidence indicates that school ‘rationalisation policies’, by fostering depopulation of peripheral areas, have an influence on the spatial distribution of households and income, thus affecting territorial disparities.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: H - Public Economics > H4 - Publicly Provided Goods > H40 - General
H - Public Economics > H5 - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies > H52 - Government Expenditures and Education
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R2 - Household Analysis > R23 - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2023 15:45
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2023 00:03

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