Religious Practice and Student Performance: Evidence from Ramadan Fasting
53 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2021
Date Written: 2021
We investigate how the intensity of Ramadan affects educational outcomes by exploiting spatiotemporal 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.
Keywords: education, religion, religious participation, Ramadan, social identity, social capital, PISA, TIMMS
JEL Classification: I210, Z120, J240, O150
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