“The Effectiveness of Cram Schools as Inputs of Education Production”

Yan Lau, Reed College 

Cram schools are supplemental shadow education services offered to students for a fee, and for some, attending them represents a significant portion of total studying time. Using Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data, regression analyses indicate that one additional hour per week of attending cram school causes a 0.09 to 0.13 standard deviation increase in test scores. Understanding cram schools as an input in education production is crucial for efficiency and equity reasons; significant resources are devoted to the sector in East and Southeast Asia (this paper’s focus region), and differential access can exacerbate economic inequality.