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Does shadow education help students prepare for college?


  • Prashant Loyalka

    () (Stanford University.)

  • Andrey Zakharov

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics. International Laboratory for Educational Policy Research. Deputy Head.)


High school students, across the world, prepare for college by participating in shadow education. Despite substantial investments in shadow education, however, little is known about whether it helps students prepare for college. The goal of our study is to provide rigorous evidence about the causal impacts of participating in shadow education on college preparation. We analyze unique data from Russia using a cross-subject student fixed effects model. We find that participating in shadow education positively impacts high-achieving students but not low-achieving students. Participating in shadow education further does not lead students to substitute time away from other out-of-school studies. Instead, the results suggest that low-achieving students participate in low-quality shadow education, which, in turn, contributes to inequality in college access

Suggested Citation

  • Prashant Loyalka & Andrey Zakharov, 2014. "Does shadow education help students prepare for college?," HSE Working papers WP BRP 15/EDU/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:15edu2014

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2009. "Addressing the Needs of Underprepared Students in Higher Education: Does College Remediation Work?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
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    5. Justine S. Hastings & Jeffrey M. Weinstein, 2008. "Information, School Choice, and Academic Achievement: Evidence from Two Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1373-1414.
    6. Kingdon, Geeta & Teal, Francis, 2010. "Teacher unions, teacher pay and student performance in India: A pupil fixed effects approach," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 278-288, March.
    7. Dang, Hai-Anh, 2007. "The determinants and impact of private tutoring classes in Vietnam," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 683-698, December.
    8. Hai-Anh Dang & F. Halsey Rogers, 2008. "The Growing Phenomenon of Private Tutoring: Does It Deepen Human Capital, Widen Inequalities, or Waste Resources?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 23(2), pages 161-200, April.
    9. Charles T. Clotfelter & Helen F. Ladd & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2010. "Teacher Credentials and Student Achievement in High School: A Cross-Subject Analysis with Student Fixed Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
    10. Ben B. Hansen, 2004. "Full Matching in an Observational Study of Coaching for the SAT," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 99, pages 609-618, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Prakhov, Ilya, 2015. "The dynamics of investment in pre-entry coaching and the returns from private tutoring among university applicants in Russia," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 37(1), pages 107-124.

    More about this item


    shadow education; private tutoring; college access; inequality; causal methods;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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