Why are Single-Sex Schools Successful?

62 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2017

See all articles by Christian Dustmann

Christian Dustmann

University College London; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Hyejin Ku

University College London - Department of Economics; University College London - CReAM - Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Do Won Kwak

Korea University

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Date Written: June 28, 2017

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, single sex schools, school inputs, random assignment

JEL Classification: I200, J160

Suggested Citation

Dustmann, Christian and Ku, Hyejin and Kwak, Do Won, Why are Single-Sex Schools Successful? (June 28, 2017). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6535, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3004353

Christian Dustmann (Contact Author)

University College London ( email )

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Hyejin Ku

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

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University College London - CReAM - Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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Do Won Kwak

Korea University ( email )

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Division of International Studies
Seoul, Seoul 02841
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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