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Ramadan, fasting and educational outcomes


  • Oosterbeek, Hessel
  • van der Klaauw, Bas


Using a difference-in-differences framework, we estimate the impact of Ramadan on educational outcomes of Muslim students living in a non-Muslim country. For identification we exploit that the number of Ramadan weeks during the course that we study, varies from year to year, ranging from zero to four. Our main finding is that Ramadan observance has a negative impact on performance; one additional Ramadan week lowers the final grade of Muslim students by almost 10% of a standard deviation.

Suggested Citation

  • Oosterbeek, Hessel & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2013. "Ramadan, fasting and educational outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 219-226.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:34:y:2013:i:c:p:219-226
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2012.12.005

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. van Ewijk, Reyn, 2011. "Long-term health effects on the next generation of Ramadan fasting during pregnancy," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1246-1260.
    2. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Bas van der Klaauw, 2010. "The Effect of Financial Rewards on Students' Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(6), pages 1243-1265, December.
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    4. Hajj, Mandana & Panizza, Ugo, 2009. "Religion and education gender gap: Are Muslims different?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 337-344, June.
    5. Sander, William, 2010. "Religious background and educational attainment: The effects of Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 489-493, June.
    6. Figlio, David N. & Winicki, Joshua, 2005. "Food for thought: the effects of school accountability plans on school nutrition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 381-394, February.
    7. John A. Maluccio, & John Hoddinott & Jere R. Behrman & Reynaldo Martorell & Agnes R. Quisumbing & Aryeh D. Stein, 2003. "The Impact of Nutrition during Early Childhood on Education among Guatemalan Adults," PIER Working Paper Archive 06-026, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Aug 2006.
    8. Gruber Jonathan H, 2005. "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-32, September.
    9. McEwan, Patrick J., 2013. "The impact of Chile's school feeding program on education outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 122-139.
    10. Jonathan Gruber, 2005. "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?," NBER Working Papers 11377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Douglas Almond & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2011. "Health Capital and the Prenatal Environment: The Effect of Ramadan Observance during Pregnancy," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 56-85, October.
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    2. Theresa Thompson Chaudhry & Maha Khan & Azka Sarosh Mir, 2021. "Son‐biased fertility stopping, birth spacing, and child nutritional status in Pakistan," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 712-736, May.
    3. Matthias Basedau & Simone Gobien & Sebastian Prediger, 2018. "The Multidimensional Effects Of Religion On Socioeconomic Development: A Review Of The Empirical Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(4), pages 1106-1133, September.
    4. Egidio Farina & Vikram Pathania, 2020. "Papal visits and abortions: evidence from Italy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(3), pages 795-837, July.
    5. Abu Siddique, 2021. "Behavioral Consequences of Religious Education," Munich Papers in Political Economy 10, Munich School of Politics and Public Policy and the School of Management at the Technical University of Munich.
    6. Hornung, Erik & Schwerdt, Guido & Strazzeri, Maurizio, 2023. "Religious practice and student performance: Evidence from Ramadan fasting," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 205(C), pages 100-119.
    7. Paola Bertoli & Veronica Grembi & Judit Vall-Castello, 2020. "The Ramadan Effect in the Workplace," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp655, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    8. Tommaso Colussi & Ingo E. Isphording & Nico Pestel, 2021. "Minority Salience and Political Extremism," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 237-271, July.
    9. Méon, Pierre-Guillaume & Tojerow, Ilan, 2019. "The minority ethic: Rethinking religious denominations, minority status, and educational achievement across the globe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 196-214.
    10. Erik Hornung & Guido Schwerdt & Maurizio Strazzeri, 2022. "Ramadan intensity and subsequent student achievement," ECONtribute Policy Brief Series 027, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    11. Melike Kökkizil, 2022. "Parental Religiosity and Missing School-Girls in Turkey," BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series BEMPS91, Faculty of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen.
    12. Nuryakin, Chaikal & Muchtar, Pyan A. & Massie, Natanael W.G. & Hambali, Sean, 2022. "Having exams during Ramadan: The case of Indonesia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 47(C).
    13. Aparajita Dasgupta & Ashokankur Datta, 2023. "Religious Institutions & Gendered Time Use: Evidence from Ramadan Festivities in India," Working Papers 90, Ashoka University, Department of Economics.
    14. Siddique, Abu, 2024. "Behavioral consequences of religious schooling," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).
    15. Seiro Ito & Abu S. Shonchoy, 2020. "Seasonality, Academic Calendar and School Drop-outs in Developing Countries," Working Papers 2013, Florida International University, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item


    Ramadan; Nutrition; Academic achievement; Intention-to-treat;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion


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