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Nuns and the Effects of Catholic Schools: Evidence from Vatican II

Author

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  • Gihleb, Rania

    () (University of Pittsburgh)

  • Giuntella, Osea

    () (University of Pittsburgh)

Abstract

This paper examines the causal effects of Catholic schooling on educational attainment. Using a novel instrumental-variable approach that exploits an exogenous shock to the Catholic school system, we show that the positive correlation between Catholic schooling and student outcomes is explained by selection bias. Spearheaded by the universal call to holiness and the opening to lay leadership, the reforms that occurred at the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) in the early 1960s produced a dramatic exogenous change in the cost/benefit ratio of religious life in the Catholic Church. The decline in vocations that followed contributed to a significant increase in costs and, in many cases, to the closure of Catholic schools. We document that this decline was heterogeneous across US dioceses, and that it was more marked in those dioceses governed by a liberal bishop. Merging diocesan data drawn from the Official Catholic Directory (1960-1980) and the US Census, we show that that the variation in the supply of female religious teachers across US dioceses is strongly related to Catholic schooling. Using the abrupt decline in female vocations as an instrument for Catholic schooling, we find no evidence of positive effects on student outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Gihleb, Rania & Giuntella, Osea, 2013. "Nuns and the Effects of Catholic Schools: Evidence from Vatican II," IZA Discussion Papers 7753, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7753
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Maria Koukal, 2017. "How Vatican II influenced female enfranchisement: A story of rapid cultural change," CREMA Working Paper Series 2017-07, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    2. M. Niaz Asadullah, 2016. "The Effect Of Islamic Secondary School Attendance On Academic Achievement," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 61(04), pages 1-24, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Catholic schools; instrumental variable; selection;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy

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