Friendship and Female Education: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Bangladeshi Primary Schools

Youjin Hahn, Asadul Islam, Eleonora Patacchini, Yves Zenou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We randomly assigned 115 primary schools in Bangladesh to one of two settings: children studying in groups with friends and children studying in groups with peers. The groups consisted of four people with similar average cognitive abilities and household characteristics. While the achievement of male students was not affected by the group assignment, low-ability females with friends outperformed low-ability females working with peers by roughly 0.4 standard deviations of the test score distribution. This is not due to the fact that friends tend to be of the same gender or to a higher frequency of interactions among friends.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)740-764
Number of pages25
JournalEconomic Journal
Issue number627
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Editor, two anonymous referees, Jim Berry, Jaesung Choi, Booyuel Kim, Vesall Nourani, Sangyoon Park, the seminar participants at Monash University, Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland, University of New South Wales, Yonsei University, the 24th Annual SJE International Symposium: Human Capital and Economic Development, Korean Labor Economic Association Meeting, Korean International Economic Association Winter Meeting, Hanyang University, and the KDI School of Public Policy and Management for valuable comments. We are indebted to Behrooz Hassani-Mahmooei for his help in the early stages of the project. We are grateful for funding support from Monash University, Yonsei University and AusAID (DFAT). We thank the Department of Primary Education in the Ministry of Education of Bangladesh for its support in conducting this project. Angela Cools, Foez Mojumdar, Mujahid Islam, and Mahbub Sarkar provided excellent research assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Royal Economic Society. Published by Oxford University Press.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


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