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Religious Schools, Social Values and Economic Attitudes: Evidence from Bangladesh

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  • Mohammad Niaz Asadullah (Reading University) and Nazmul Chaudhury (World Bank)

Abstract

This paper examines the social impact of a madrasa (Islamic religious school) reform program in Bangladesh. The key features of the reform are change of the curriculum and introduction of female teachers. We assess whether the reform is making any contribution in improving social cohesion in rural areas. We use new data on teachers and female graduates from rural Bangladesh and explore how attitudes toward desired fertility, working mothers, higher education for girls vis-à-vis boys, and various political regimes vary across secondary schools and modernised madrasas. We find some evidence of attitudinal gaps by school type. Modernised religious education is associated with attitudes that are conducive to democracy. On the other hand, when compared to their secular schooled peers, madrasa graduates have perverse attitude on matters such as working mothers, desired fertility and higher education for girls. We also find that young people's attitudes are interlinked with that of their teachers. Exposure to female and younger teachers leads to more favourable attitudes among graduates. These estimated effects are robust to conditioning on a rich set of individual, family and school traits. We conclude by discussing other social and economic implications of these findings.

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Paper provided by Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford in its series QEH Working Papers with number qehwps139.

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Handle: RePEc:qeh:qehwps:qehwps139

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  1. Brock, William A & Durlauf, Steven N, 2001. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 235-60, April.
  2. Thomas Dee, 2005. "The Effects of Catholic Schooling on Civic Participation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(5), pages 605-625, September.
  3. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2002. "People's Opium? Religion and Economic Attitudes," CEPR Discussion Papers 3588, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Nistha Sinha, 2004. "Testing for a Supply Constraint to Fertility: Interpreting the Up to God Response to the Survey Question on Desired Family Size," Working Papers 889, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  5. M Niaz Asadullah, 2005. "Returns to education in Bangladesh," Development and Comp Systems 0511020, EconWPA.
  6. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
  7. Thomas S. Dee, 2007. "Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
  8. Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, . "Returns to Private and Public Education in Bangladesh and Pakistan: A Comparative Analysis," QEH Working Papers qehwps167, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  9. Niaz Asadullah, Mohammad & Chaudhury, Nazmul & Dar, Amit, 2007. "Student achievement conditioned upon school selection: Religious and secular secondary school quality in Bangladesh," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 648-659, December.
  10. Mohammad Niaz Asadullah & Nazmul Chaudhury, 2009. "Holy alliances: public subsidies, Islamic high schools, and female schooling in Bangladesh," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 377-394.
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Cited by:
  1. Al-Samarrai, Samer, 2007. "Financing basic education in Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 1505, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Asadullah, Niaz & Chakrabarti, Rupa & Chaudhury, Nazmul, 2012. "What Determines Religious School Choice? Theory and Evidence from Rural Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 6883, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Pierre André & Jean-Luc Demonsant, 2012. "Koranic Schools in Senegal : A real barrier to formal education?," THEMA Working Papers 2012-46, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.

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