Nova workboard

a blog from young economists at Nova SBE

Bullying and the Education Production Function

The education production function is a tool used for analyzing decisions in education. Traditionally, the main factors influencing the decision to participate in education include family background, intrinsic ability and knowledge, financial resources or constraints, and other relevant inputs. One important influential factor on an individual’s education is regarding their personal experiences in school – namely if the student is the victim of bullying. Although bullying has limited direct consequences on grades and achievements, in this context being the victim of bullying is nonetheless significant in determining future educational attainments.


For victims of bullying, school can become a toxic environment and have the opposite effect of its aim to enrich and teach students. The harassment and targeted intimidation of a victim has negative consequences including among other things embarrassment, social exclusion, low self-esteem, and in more extreme cases physical violence. These outcomes all have an impact on the learning prospects of the victim who may opt to avoid school or be unable to fully concentrate on studies, ultimately impacting their production of education.


The economic cost of bullying stems from the education achievement limits it imposes on victims. In the absence of bullying, the educational path of a victim may be quite different and most commonly longer than if bullying exists, and these results are confirmed empirically. Ponzo (2012)[1] estimates the impact of bullying on educational attainment for students in grades 4 and 8 in Italy. Using matching estimators, the author finds a significant negative impact on test scores for victims of bullying. A more pronounced impact is found for those in the 8th grade compared to the 4th, suggesting there are greater consequences for older victims of bullying.


Further, Brown and Taylor (2005)[2] conclude that bullying has adverse effects on the accumulation of human capital of students in the U.K. This study is important since the authors also conclude that being bullied in school has a direct impact on labour market wages during adulthood and also an indirect effect on wages through educational attainment. This provides evidence for the negative impact that bullying has not only through society and quality of life for the victim, but also through reduced economic potential for victims and ultimately society.  


With increasing concerns over school violence and the media barrage over bullying in schools, the negative impacts can have long lasting effects not only on educational attainment but also emotionally. Focusing attention on the issue of bullying in school’s is important, even more so now in the days of increased anonymity over the internet giving rise to cyber bullying. Ensuring that schools have the necessary resources for the prevention of bullying not only has the personalized impact of helping victims, but also further impacts via education production that increases attainments and eventual labour market outcomes.


Jacob Macdonald

Nova SBE

[1] Ponzo, Michela. 2012. “Does bullying reduce educational achievement? An evaluation using matching estimators.” University of Calabria

[2] Brown, Sarah and Karl Taylor. 2005. “Bullying, Education and Labour Market Outcomes: Evidence from the National Child Development Study” No 2005015, Working Papers. The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.


Author: studentnovasbe

Master student in Nova Sbe

Comments are closed.