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Dressed for Success: Do School Uniforms Improve Student Behavior, Attendance, and Achievement?

Author

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  • Scott Imberman

    () (Department of Economics, University of Houston)

  • Elisabetta Gentile

    (Department of Economics, University of Houston)

Abstract

Concerns about safety in urban schools has led many school districts to require uniforms for their students. However, we know very little about what impact school uniforms have had on the educational environment. In this paper we use a unique dataset to assess how uniform adoption affects student achievement and behavior in a large urban school district in the southwest. Since each school in the district could decide independently about whether or not to adopt uniforms, we are able to use variation across schools and over time to identify the effects of uniforms. Using student and school fixed-effects along with school-specific linear time trends to address selection of students and schools into uniform adoption, we find that uniforms had little impact on student outcomes in elementary grades but provided modest improvements in language scores and attendance rates in middle and high school grades. These effects appear to be concentrated in female students.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Imberman & Elisabetta Gentile, 2009. "Dressed for Success: Do School Uniforms Improve Student Behavior, Attendance, and Achievement?," Working Papers 2009-03, Department of Economics, University of Houston.
  • Handle: RePEc:hou:wpaper:2009-03
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Are school uniforms useful?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-11-20 21:14:00
    2. The effects of school uniforms?
      by Kevin Denny in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2009-10-19 14:30:00

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