Islam and the State: Religious Education in the Age of Mass Schooling

65 Pages Posted: 7 May 2020

See all articles by Samuel Bazzi

Samuel Bazzi

Boston University - Department of Economics

Masyhur Hilmy

Boston University

Benjamin Marx

Sciences Po - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

Public schooling systems are an essential feature of modern states. These systems often developed at the expense of religious schools, which undertook the bulk of education historically and still cater to large student populations worldwide. This paper examines how Indonesia’s long-standing Islamic school system responded to the construction of 61,000 public elementary schools in the mid-1970s. The policy was designed in part to foster nation building and to curb religious influence in society. We are the first to study the market response to these ideological objectives. Using novel data on Islamic school construction and curriculum, we identify both short-run effects on exposed cohorts as well as dynamic, long-run effects on education markets. While primary enrollment shifted towards state schools, religious education increased on net as Islamic secondary schools absorbed the increased demand for continued education. The Islamic sector not only entered new markets to compete with the state but also increased religious curriculum at newly created schools. Our results suggest that the Islamic sector response increased religiosity at the expense of a secular national identity. Overall, this ideological competition in education undermined the nation-building impacts of mass schooling.

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Suggested Citation

Bazzi, Samuel and Hilmy, Masyhur and Marx, Benjamin, Islam and the State: Religious Education in the Age of Mass Schooling (May 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27073, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3593989

Samuel Bazzi (Contact Author)

Boston University - Department of Economics ( email )

270 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Masyhur Hilmy

Boston University

Benjamin Marx

Sciences Po - Department of Economics ( email )

28, rue des Saints peres
Paris, 75007
France

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