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Single-Sex Schools, Student Achievement, and Course Selection: Evidence from Rule-Based Student Assignments in Trinidad and Tobago


  • C. Kirabo Jackson


Existing studies on single-sex schooling suffer from biases because students who attend single-sex schools differ in unmeasured ways from those who do not. In Trinidad and Tobago students are assigned to secondary schools based on an algorithm allowing one to address self-selection bias and estimate the causal effect of attending a single-sex school versus a similar coeducational school. While students (particularly females) with strong expressed preferences for single-sex schools benefit, most students perform no better at single-sex schools. Girls at single-sex schools take fewer sciences courses and more traditionally female subjects.

Suggested Citation

  • C. Kirabo Jackson, 2011. "Single-Sex Schools, Student Achievement, and Course Selection: Evidence from Rule-Based Student Assignments in Trinidad and Tobago," NBER Working Papers 16817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16817
    Note: CH ED LS PE

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Eisenkopf, Gerald & Hessami, Zohal & Fischbacher, Urs & Ursprung, Heinrich W., 2015. "Academic performance and single-sex schooling: Evidence from a natural experiment in Switzerland," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 123-143.
    2. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    3. Susanne Link, 2012. "Single-Sex Schooling and Student Performance: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from South Korea," ifo Working Paper Series 146, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    4. Ozkan Eren, 2017. "Differential Peer Effects, Student Achievement, and Student Absenteeism: Evidence From a Large-Scale Randomized Experiment," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(2), pages 745-773, April.
    5. Elizabeth U. Cascio & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2016. "First in the Class? Age and the Education Production Function," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 11(3), pages 225-250, Summer.
    6. Strain, Michael R., 2013. "Single-sex classes & student outcomes: Evidence from North Carolina," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 73-87.
    7. Favara, Marta, 2012. "The Cost of Acting "Girly": Gender Stereotypes and Educational Choices," IZA Discussion Papers 7037, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Ozkan Eren, 2016. "Differential Peer Effects, Student Achievement, and Student Absenteeism: Evidence from a Large Scale Randomized Experiment," Departmental Working Papers 2016-01, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    9. Hyunjoon Park & Jere Behrman & Jaesung Choi, 2013. "Causal Effects of Single-Sex Schools on College Entrance Exams and College Attendance: Random Assignment in Seoul High Schools," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(2), pages 447-469, April.
    10. Massimo Anelli & Giovanni Peri, 2016. "The Effects of High School Peers' Gender on College Major, College Performance and Income," CESifo Working Paper Series 6014, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Do Won Kwak & Hyejin Ku, 2013. "Together or Separate: Disentangling the Effects of Single-Sex Schooling from the Effects of Single-Sex Schools," Discussion Papers Series 487, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    12. Doris, Aedín & O’Neill, Donal & Sweetman, Olive, 2013. "Gender, single-sex schooling and maths achievement," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 104-119.
    13. Hill, Andrew J., 2017. "The positive influence of female college students on their male peers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 151-160.
    14. Lee, Soohyung & Niederle, Muriel & Kang, Namwook, 2014. "Do single-sex schools make girls more competitive?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(3), pages 474-477.
    15. Hyunjoon Park & Jere R. Behrman & Jaesung Choi, 2012. "Do Single-Sex Schools Enhance Students’ STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Outcomes?," PIER Working Paper Archive 12-038, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    16. Alison L. Booth & Lina Cardona-Sosa & Patrick Nolen, 2013. "Do Single-Sex Classes Affect Achievement? A Study in a Coeducational University," Borradores de Economia 787, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    17. Jackson, C. Kirabo, 2013. "Can higher-achieving peers explain the benefits to attending selective schools? Evidence from Trinidad and Tobago," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 63-77.
    18. Francis X. Diebold, 2012. "On the Origin(s) and Development of the Term “Big Data"," PIER Working Paper Archive 12-037, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    19. repec:taf:apeclt:v:24:y:2017:i:19:p:1369-1373 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Jetter, Michael & Walker, Jay K., 2016. "Gender in Jeopardy!: The Role of Opponent Gender in High-Stakes Competition," IZA Discussion Papers 9669, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    21. Landaud, Fanny & Ly, Son-Thierry & Maurin, Eric, 2016. "Competitive Schools and the Gender Gap in the Choice of Field of Study," CEPR Discussion Papers 11411, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    22. Clair Null & Clemencia Cosentino & Swetha Sridharan & Laura Meyer, "undated". "Policies and Programs to Improve Secondary Education in Developing Countries: A Review of the Evidence," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 516e420e637c4851b15e6a3f6, Mathematica Policy Research.
    23. Choi, Jaesung & Park, Hyunjoon & Behrman, Jere R., 2015. "Separating boys and girls and increasing weight? Assessing the impacts of single-sex schools through random assignment in Seoul," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 1-11.
    24. Laura Cyron & Guido Schwerdt & Martina Viarengo, 2017. "The effect of opposite sex siblings on cognitive and noncognitive skills in early childhood," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(19), pages 1369-1373, November.
    25. Sohn, Hosung, 2016. "Mean and distributional impact of single-sex high schools on students’ cognitive achievement, major choice, and test-taking behavior: Evidence from a random assignment policy in Seoul, Korea," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 155-175.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General


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