School quality and parental investments into children

Publication type

Conference Paper


Birgitta Rabe, Ellen Greaves, Imran Rasul and Iftikhar Hussain

Publication date


This paper uses Understanding Society data to investigate how parental
investments into children’s education interact with school investments.
Learning about the drivers of parental investments into their children
is important for the design of educational interventions. We use Ofsted
inspections of children’s schools as a treatment that reveals
information about school quality to parents. We exploit random variation
in the timing of Ofsted inspections within an academic year, where some
parents receive information about school quality through an Ofsted
inspection before their survey interview (treatment group) and others
receive this information after their interview (control group). In a
first stage we predict Ofsted grades based on school characteristics and
performance data and compare them to actual inspection outcomes,
creating variables of positive or negative ‘shock’. In a second stage we
estimate how parental investments react to positive and negative shocks
in a difference-in-difference framework using Understanding Society
data. Our measure of parental investments is how often parents help
their children aged 10-15 with homework, and we combine several waves of
Understanding Society to assess changes in parental help with homework.
We find that having a higher than predicted Ofsted grade leads to an
increase in help with homework, whereas a lower than predicted Ofsted
grade leads to decrease in help with homework, although the latter
finding is not statistically significant. The results indicate that
parental and school investments are complements.


Education and Child Development