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The Effect of Single-Sex Education on Test Scores, School Completion, Arrests, and Teen Motherhood: Evidence from School Transitions


  • C. Kirabo Jackson


In 2010, the Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago converted 20 low-performing secondary schools from coeducational to single-sex. I exploit these conversions to identify the causal effect of single-sex schooling holding other school inputs constant. After also accounting for student selection, single-sex cohorts at conversion schools score higher on national exams and are four percentage points more likely to complete secondary school. There are also important non-academic effects; all-boys cohorts have fewer arrests as teens, and all-girls cohorts have lower teen pregnancy rates. These benefits are achieved at zero financial cost. Survey evidence suggests that these single-sex effects reflect both direct gender peer effects due to interactions between classmates, and indirect effects generated through changes in teacher behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • C. Kirabo Jackson, 2016. "The Effect of Single-Sex Education on Test Scores, School Completion, Arrests, and Teen Motherhood: Evidence from School Transitions," NBER Working Papers 22222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22222
    Note: CH DEV ED LS PE

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    Cited by:

    1. Anne Ardila Brenøe & Ulf Zölitz, 2020. "Exposure to More Female Peers Widens the Gender Gap in STEM Participation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(4), pages 1009-1054.
    2. Kirabo Jackson & Alexey Makarin, 2018. "Can Online Off-the-Shelf Lessons Improve Student Outcomes? Evidence from a Field Experiment," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 226-254, August.
    3. Michèle Müller-Itten & Aniko Öry, 2022. "Mentoring and the Dynamics of Affirmative Action," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 402-444, May.
    4. Fruehwirth, Jane Cooley & Gagete-Miranda, Jessica, 2019. "Your peers’ parents: Spillovers from parental education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General

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