Role models in movies: the impact of Queen of Katwe on students’ educational attainment
No 2017-13, CSAE Working Paper Series from Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford
This paper presents experimental evidence on the impact of a role model on secondary school student exam performance in Uganda. Students preparing to take their national exams were in dividually randomised to see either a movie featuring a potential role model, Queen of Katwe, or to see a placebo movie. I find that treatment with the role-model movie leads to lower secondary school students being less likely to fail their maths exam a week later: 84% of those who watched Queen of Katwe passed the exam, whereas only 73% of those who didn’t passed. This effect is strongest for female and lower ability students. For upper secondary school students, treatment with Queen of Katwe 1 month before their exams results in an increase in their total exam score of 0.13 standard deviations. This study highlights the power of a movie role model as an alternative way to improve secondary school students’ educational attainment, particularly of the worst performing students.
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