Dressed for Success? The Effect of School Uniforms on Student Achievement and Behavior

43 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2009 Last revised: 22 Feb 2010

See all articles by Elisabetta Gentile

Elisabetta Gentile

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics

Scott A. Imberman

Michigan State University; Michigan State University - College of Education

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 19, 2010

Abstract

Concerns about safety in urban schools have led many school districts to require uniforms for their students. However, we know very little about what impact school uniforms have had on the school environment. In this paper we use a unique dataset to assess how uniform adoption affects student behavior and achievement in a large urban school district in the southwest. Since each school in the district could decide independently about whether or not to adopt uniforms, we are able to use variation across schools and over time to identify the effects of uniforms. Using models that include student and school fixed-effects along with school-specific linear time trends we find that uniforms generate improvements in attendance, behavior and test scores for students in secondary grades, particularly girls. There is little impact in primary grades. Uniforms also reduce the likelihood that girls leave the district for alternative education options, potentially providing a tool for retaining students in the face of increased school choice options.

Keywords: uniforms, eduction, achievement, student behavior

JEL Classification: I21

Suggested Citation

Gentile, Elisabetta and Imberman, Scott Andrew, Dressed for Success? The Effect of School Uniforms on Student Achievement and Behavior (February 19, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1465707 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1465707

Elisabetta Gentile

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics ( email )

1 Arts Link, AS2 #06-02
Singapore, Singapore 117570
Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/ecs/people/profile/ecsge.html

Scott Andrew Imberman (Contact Author)

Michigan State University ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

Michigan State University - College of Education ( email )

East Lansing, MI
United States

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