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Religious Schools, Social Values and Economic Attitudes: Evidence from Bangladesh

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  • Mohammad Niaz Asadullah (Reading University) and Nazmul Chaudhury (World Bank)

Abstract

This paper examines the social impact of a madrasa (Islamic religious school) reform program in Bangladesh. The key features of the reform are change of the curriculum and introduction of female teachers. We assess whether the reform is making any contribution in improving social cohesion in rural areas. We use new data on teachers and female graduates from rural Bangladesh and explore how attitudes toward desired fertility, working mothers, higher education for girls vis-à-vis boys, and various political regimes vary across secondary schools and modernised madrasas. We find some evidence of attitudinal gaps by school type. Modernised religious education is associated with attitudes that are conducive to democracy. On the other hand, when compared to their secular schooled peers, madrasa graduates have perverse attitude on matters such as working mothers, desired fertility and higher education for girls. We also find that young people's attitudes are interlinked with that of their teachers. Exposure to female and younger teachers leads to more favourable attitudes among graduates. These estimated effects are robust to conditioning on a rich set of individual, family and school traits. We conclude by discussing other social and economic implications of these findings.

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  • Mohammad Niaz Asadullah (Reading University) and Nazmul Chaudhury (World Bank), "undated". "Religious Schools, Social Values and Economic Attitudes: Evidence from Bangladesh," QEH Working Papers qehwps139, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:qeh:qehwps:qehwps139
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Asadullah, M. Niaz, 2009. "Returns to private and public education in Bangladesh and Pakistan: A comparative analysis," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 77-86, January.
    2. Thomas S. Dee, 2007. "Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
    3. Niaz Asadullah, Mohammad & Chaudhury, Nazmul & Dar, Amit, 2007. "Student achievement conditioned upon school selection: Religious and secular secondary school quality in Bangladesh," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 648-659, December.
    4. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 2001. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 235-260.
    5. Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, 2006. "Returns to Education in Bangladesh," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 453-468.
    6. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
    7. Mohammad Niaz Asadullah & Nazmul Chaudhury, 2009. "Holy alliances: public subsidies, Islamic high schools, and female schooling in Bangladesh," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 377-394.
    8. Thomas Dee, 2005. "The Effects of Catholic Schooling on Civic Participation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 12(5), pages 605-625, September.
    9. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "People's opium? Religion and economic attitudes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 225-282, January.
    10. Nistha Sinha, 2004. "Testing for a Supply Constraint to Fertility: Interpreting the Up to God Response to the Survey Question on Desired Family Size," Working Papers 889, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre André & Jean-Luc Demonsant, 2012. "Koranic Schools in Senegal : A real barrier to formal education?," THEMA Working Papers 2012-46, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    2. M. Niaz Asadullah & Rupa Chakrabarti & Nazmul Chaudhury, 2015. "What Determines Religious School Choice? Theory And Evidence From Rural Bangladesh," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(2), pages 186-207, April.
    3. repec:eur:ejserj:374 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Méon, Pierre-Guillaume & Tojerow, Ilan, 2016. "In God We Learn? Religions' Universal Messages, Context-Specific Effects, and Minority Status," IZA Discussion Papers 10077, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Asadullah, M Niaz & Chaudhury, Nazmul, 2016. "To madrasahs or not to madrasahs: The question and correlates of enrolment in Islamic schools in Bangladesh," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 55-69.
    6. Al-Samarrai, Samer, 2007. "Financing basic education in Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 1505, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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