Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Religious practice and student performance: Evidence from Ramadan fasting

Author(s): Erik Hornung, Guido Schwerdt and Maurizio Strazzeri

Publication Date: October 2021

Keyword(s): Education, PISA, Ramadan, religion, Religious Participation, social capital, social identity and TIMMS

Programme Area(s): Labour Economics

Abstract: We investigate how the intensity of Ramadan affects educational outcomes by exploiting spatio-temporal variation in annual fasting hours. Longer fasting hours are related to increases in student performance in a panel of TIMMS test scores (1995-2019) across Muslim countries but not other countries. Results are confirmed in a panel of PISA test scores (2003-2018) allowing within country-wave comparisons of Muslim to non-Muslim students across Europe. We provide evidence consistent with the hypothesis that a demanding Ramadan during adolescence affects educational performance by facilitating formation of social capital and social identity via increased religious participation and shared experiences among students.

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Bibliographic Reference

Hornung, E, Schwerdt, G and Strazzeri, M. 2021. 'Religious practice and student performance: Evidence from Ramadan fasting'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.