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Nuns and the effects of catholic schools. Evidence from Vatican II

Listed author(s):
  • Gihleb, Rania
  • Giuntella, Osea

This paper examines the causal effects of Catholic school attendance on educational attainment. Using a novel instrumental-variable approach that exploits an exogenous shock to the US Catholic school system, we show that the positive correlation between Catholic school attendance and student outcomes is explained by selection bias. Spearheaded by the universal call to holiness, the reforms that occurred at the Second Vatican Council produced a dramatic exogenous change in the cost/benefit ratio of religious life in the Catholic Church. Using the abrupt decline in the number of Catholic sisters as an instrument for Catholic school attendance, we find no evidence of positive effects on student outcomes.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268117300665
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 137 (2017)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 191-213

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:137:y:2017:i:c:p:191-213
DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.03.007
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  2. Martin R. West & Ludger Woessmann, 2010. "'Every Catholic Child in a Catholic School': Historical Resistance to State Schooling, Contemporary Private Competition and Student Achievement across Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(546), pages 229-255, August.
  3. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
  4. David Newhouse & Kathleen Beegle, 2006. "The Effect of School Type on Academic Achievement: Evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
  5. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Elder, Todd, 2009. "Historical religious concentrations and the effects of Catholic schooling," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 65-74, July.
  6. Bedi, Arjun S. & Garg, Ashish, 2000. "The effectiveness of private versus public schools: the case of Indonesia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 463-494, April.
  7. Elder, Todd & Jepsen, Christopher, 2014. "Are Catholic primary schools more effective than public primary schools?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 28-38.
  8. Cohen-Zada, D., 2009. "An alternative instrument for private school competition," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 29-37, February.
  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. Eli Berman & Laurence R. Iannaccone & Giuseppe Ragusa, 2012. "From Empty Pews to Empty Cradles: Fertility Decline Among European Catholics," NBER Working Papers 18350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. William N. Evans & Robert M. Schwab, 1995. "Finishing High School and Starting College: Do Catholic Schools Make a Difference?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 941-974.
  12. Philip Oreopoulos & Marianne E. Page, 2006. "The Intergenerational Effects of Compulsory Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 729-760, October.
  13. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1994. "Do Private Schools Provide Competition for Public Schools?," NBER Working Papers 4978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. William Sander, 1999. "Private Schools and Public School Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 697-709.
  15. Kim, Young-Joo, 2011. "Catholic schools or school quality? The effects of Catholic schools on labor market outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 546-558, June.
  16. Koedel, Cory, 2008. "Teacher quality and dropout outcomes in a large, urban school district," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 560-572, November.
  17. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "An Evaluation of Instrumental Variable Strategies for Estimating the Effects of Catholic Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 791-821.
  18. Neal, Derek, 1997. "The Effects of Catholic Secondary Schooling on Educational Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 98-123, January.
  19. Atsushi Inoue & Gary Solon, 2010. "Two-Sample Instrumental Variables Estimators," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 557-561, August.
  20. Cascio, Elizabeth U., 2005. "School Progression and the Grade Distribution of Students: Evidence from the Current Population Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 1747, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Hsieh, Chang-Tai & Urquiola, Miguel, 2006. "The effects of generalized school choice on achievement and stratification: Evidence from Chile's voucher program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1477-1503, September.
  22. Francis Vella, 1999. "Do Catholic Schools Make a Difference? Evidence from Australia," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 208-224.
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