Tehran Institute for Advanced Studies (TeIAS)

/ The Effect of Single-sex Education on Educational Attainment of Men and Women: Evidence from Iran __ Djavad Salehi‐Isfahani


The Effect of Single-sex Education on Educational Attainment of Men and Women: Evidence from Iran

June 16, 2019


Khatam University, Building No2.
Address: Mollasadra Blvd., North Shirazi St., East Daneshvar St., No.17. See location on Google map


Dr. Djavad Salehi‐Isfahani

 Professor of Economics at Virginia Tech University


We investigate the impact of single-sex education in Iran on the years of schooling of adult men and women. Following the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iran banned all coed education. A generation later, there is a noticeable increase in women’s education and narrowing of the gender gap in attainment. This is especially true of the smaller rural areas where mixed gender schools predominated. We examine the causal impact of single-sex schooling on the closing of the gender gap in years of schooling. As some authors have conjectured, the availability of single-sex schools may have persuaded conservative parents to send their daughters to school in greater numbers. We use national data on school availability in Iran to match the educational attainment of adult men and women observed in the national census of 2006 to the type of primary schools available in their districts when they were of primary school age. Our identification strategy, which follows Duflo(2001), uses variation in the availability of single-sex schools across cohorts and 812 subdistricts. Our results show that the availability of a single-sex primary school had a larger impact on adult women’s education than on men’s education, resulting in the narrowing of the gender gap in education.


Djavad Salehi‐Isfahani received his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University in 1977. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania till 1984, before moving to Virginia Tech, where he is currently a Professor of Economics. He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Global Economy and Development, the Brookings Institution, Research Affiliate of the Iran Project at the Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School, and Research Fellow at the Economic Research Forum (ERF) in Cairo. He has held visiting positions at the University of Oxford, the Brookings Institution, Harvard University, and Princeton University. His current research is on economic inequality and economics of the family in the Middle East. His opinion pieces have appeared in Al-Monitor, Brookings, Foreign Affairs, LA Times, Lobelog.com, the New York Times, and the Project Syndicate.