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Publication - Professor Simon Burgess

    Students' effort and educational achievement

    Using the timing of the World Cup to vary the value of leisure


    Metcalfe, R, Burgess, S & Proud, S, 2019, ‘Students' effort and educational achievement: Using the timing of the World Cup to vary the value of leisure’. Journal of Public Economics, vol 172., pp. 111-126


    We study the effect of a sharp, exogenous, and repeated change in the value of leisure on educational achievement, arising from the overlap of major international football tournaments with high-stakes tests. Using administrative data covering almost all students in England, we find a significant negative average effect of the tournament on exam performance. The odds of reaching the achievement benchmark fall by 12% on average, considerably more for students likely to be interested in football. Analysis of within-student variation shows a 0.02 SD fall in grades, 0.06 SD for the interested. We interpret our results as reflecting changes in student effort.

    Full details in the University publications repository