Gender differences in exposure to more instruction time. Evidence from Italy.

Number: 64
Year: 2014
Author(s): Elena Claudia Meroni, Giovanni Abbiati
ABSTRACT This paper investigates the short-term effects on achievement, study behaviours and attitude of an intervention providing extra instruction time to students in lower secondary schools in southern Italy. We use a difference-in-differences strategy and compare two contiguous cohorts of students enrolled in the same class for two consecutive years. We control for sorting of students and teachers across classes using the fact that, due to a recent reform, the group of teachers assigned to each class is stable over time. We find that the programme increased performances in mathematics but found no effect for Italian language test scores; the programme increased positive attitudes towards both subjects. We investigate the heterogeneity of the effects focusing on the gender dimension and  find that boys and girls react differently to the intervention: girls use the extra instruction time as a complement to regular home study, while boys use it as a substitute.

Elena Claudia Meroni

European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Econometrics and Applied Statistic Unit


Giovanni Abbiati

University of Trento


The paper may be downloaded here.