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  • Publication
    Are catholic primary schools more effective than public primary schools?
    (Elsevier, 2014-03) ;
    This paper assesses the causal effects of Catholic primary schooling on student outcomes such as test scores, grade retention, and behavior. Catholic school students have substantially better average outcomes than do public school students throughout the primary years, but we present evidence that selection bias is entirely responsible for these advantages. Estimates based on several empirical strategies, including an approach developed by Altonji et al. (2005a) to use selection on observables to assessthe bias arising from selection on unobservables, imply that Catholic schools do not appreciably boost test scores. All of the empirical strategies point to sizeable negative effects of Catholic schooling on mathematics achievement. Similarly, we find very little evidence that Catholic schooling improves behavioral and other non-cognitive outcomes once we account for selection on unobservables.
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