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Why Are Single-Sex Schools Successful?

Christian Dustmann, Hyejin Ku () and Do Won Kwak ()

No 12101, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: We exploit two unusual policy features of academic high schools in Seoul, South Korea - random assignment of pupils to high schools within districts and conversion of some existing single-sex schools to the coeducational (coed) type over time - to identify three distinct causal parameters: the between-school effect of attending a coed (versus a single-sex) school; the within-school effect of school-type conversion, conditional on (unobserved) school characteristics; and the effect of class-level exposure to mixed-gender (versus same-sex) peers. We find robust evidence that pupils in single-sex schools outperform their counterparts in coed schools, which could be due to single-sex peers in school and classroom, or unobservable school-level covariates. Focusing on switching schools, we find that the conversion of the pupil gender type from single-sex to coed leads to worse academic outcomes for both boys and girls, conditional on school fixed effects and time-varying observables. While for boys, the negative effect is largely driven by exposure to mixed-gender peers at school-level, it is class-level exposure to mixed-gender peers that explains this disadvantage for girls.

Keywords: Gender; random assignment; school inputs; single sex schools (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-gen and nep-ure
Date: 2017-06
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Journal Article: Why Are Single-Sex Schools Successful? (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Why Are Single-Sex Schools Successful? (2017) Downloads
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