Assessing Inequality in the School Closure Response to Covid-19

36 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2022

See all articles by Xiqian Cai

Xiqian Cai

Xiamen University - Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics (WISE)

Jingcheng Fu

National University of Singapore (NUS), Department of Economics

Yi Lu

School of Business, University of Hong Kong

Xiangming Tang

Education Bureau of Quanzhou

Songfa Zhong

National University of Singapore (NUS), Department of Economics

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Abstract

The spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused school closures in most countries, affecting over 90% of the world’s student population. School closures can widen learning inequalities and disproportionately hurt vulnerable students. We collected data on the exam scores of university applicants in China before and after a two-month period of school closure. We observe that students from rural, lower-income households are more negatively affected by school closures compared to their urban, higher-income counterparts. The inequality effect remains sizable in the admission exam three months after schools reopen. To strengthen the causal interpretation of the results, we investigate the scores in the previous graduating cohorts who did not experience school closure, and find no evidence of the change in scores over the same calendar period. Our study points to the urgent need to address the educational inequality caused by school closures.

Keywords: inequality, School closures, Education, COVID-19

Suggested Citation

Cai, Xiqian and Fu, Jingcheng and Lu, Yi and Tang, Xiangming and Zhong, Songfa, Assessing Inequality in the School Closure Response to Covid-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4139024 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4139024

Xiqian Cai (Contact Author)

Xiamen University - Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics (WISE) ( email )

Jingcheng Fu

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

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Yi Lu

School of Business, University of Hong Kong ( email )

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Xiangming Tang

Education Bureau of Quanzhou ( email )

Songfa Zhong

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

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