In the last decade, single-sex education has experienced a major revival. However, whether same-gender schooling is an appropriate strategy to boost academic achievement remains an open question. I leverage randomized assignment of 4- and 5-year-old children to schools in Malta to estimate the causal effect of single-sex education on short- and medium-run outcomes. To alleviate concerns of endogenous school inputs, I compare students within the same school sector, for which coeducational and single-sex schools are alike in all dimensions except for the gender composition of the student population. I find that attending a single-sex primary school produces large and significant test score gains for both boys and girls at the end of primary school. Furthermore, single-sex schooling in childhood has lasting effects on the choice of curriculum track in secondary school. Students make less gendered subject choices and are less likely to enroll in vocational subjects. Survey evidence suggests that the single-sex school effect is mediated through higher student satisfaction with school, lower levels of classroom disruption and teachers' use of guided instruction.
In 2012, the Brazilian government passed a law that mandated that all federal higher education institutions implement a 50 percent admission quota for historically disadvantaged students. I study the implications of this regulation on the academic performance of non-targeted students. The identification rests on the use of pre-law crosswise variation in specially admitted student representation as an instrument for exogenous changes in the student body composition. The affirmative action policy causes an increase in the variance of academic ability within university programs. However, I find no evidence that the increased enrollment of targeted students affects the dropout of non-quota students.
(with Kamalini Ramdas and Jonathan Williams)
In 2006, the Argentine government sanctioned a law that imposed a ceiling of up to 6 percent annual interest rate on microcredit loans. This cap was well below the standard interest rate charged by local microfinance institutions. The enforcement of the law provides a source of quasi-experimental variation that allows me to identify the effect and magnitude of a decline in the cost of borrowing on loan delinquency rates. Using a unique data set of borrowers' records, I find that the reduction of the interest rate improves the loan repayment discipline, both in the incidence of loan delinquency as well as in the probability of non-compliance.
(with Diego Battiston)
Using teachers’ preferences and schools’ priorities, many countries assign teachers to public schools via a centralized matching algorithm. In this paper, we study how the design of the teacher labor market affects teachers’ performance and student achievement. Making use of novel data from Argentina, we first perform a critical assessment of teachers’ preferences in relation to school characteristics and locations. Second, we exploit the discontinuities induced by the clearinghouse mechanism to assess the effect of employment contract type on teachers’ performance.
(with M. Mohanan, V. Das, T. L. Rabin, S. S. Raj, J. I. Schwartz, A. Seth, J. D. Goldhaber-Fiebert, G. Miller, and M. Vera-Hernández)
Bulletin World Health Organization, 2017
(with M. Mohanan, J. D. Goldhaber-Fiebert and M. Vera-Hernández)
BMJ Global Health, 2016
(with M. Mohanan, M. Vera-Hernández, V. Das, J. D. Goldhaber-Fiebert, T. L. Rabin, S. S. Raj, J. I. Schwartz and A. Seth)
JAMA Pediatrics, 2015