School Segregation Reconstructed? On the Efficacy and Equity of Single-Sex Schooling

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 29.11.2005, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Sherrilyn M. Billger (Illinois State University)


Recently proposed changes to Title IX have spurred many new single-sex public schools and classes in the US. Until recently, nearly all gender-segregated schools were private, and likely attracted high quality students. Therefore, this study addresses the potential selection bias in the effects on educational and labor market outcomes by using a variety of techniques, including two-step Heckman corrections, an index comparing expectations to outcomes, and quantile regressions, among others. While simple comparisons suggest significant benefits for both genders, controlling for selection bias reveals much less consistency. For instance, while girls' school alumnae are more likely than their coed peers to pursue college degrees, they are in fact less likely to meet their own educational goals. On the other hand, boys' school graduates are more likely to meet and exceed their educational expectations, providing a clear benefit to alumni. Moreover, single-sex schooling is not universally superior in supporting gender equity. For instance, among comparison school categories, coeducational public schools yield the least segregated college major choices. On the other hand, I find 15-20% higher starting salaries among single-sex school graduates, but these returns do not persist throughout the ability distributions. Much of the benefit from single-sex schooling may well accrue to students who are already more likely to succeed, but favorable selection into these schools is an insufficient explanation for all gains. Most notably, there are clear returns for both African-Americans and low income students.

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