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Why Are Single-Sex Schools Successful?

Dustmann, C; Ku, H; Kwak, DW; (2018) Why Are Single-Sex Schools Successful? Labour Economics , 54 pp. 79-99. 10.1016/j.labeco.2018.06.005.

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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.

Type: Article
Title: Why Are Single-Sex Schools Successful?
DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2018.06.005
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.labeco.2018.06.005
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Gender, Single sex schools, School inputs, Random assignment
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Dept of Economics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10053272
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