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A teacher unlike me: Social distance, learning, and intergenerational mobility in developing countries

Karachiwalla, Naureen (2013): A teacher unlike me: Social distance, learning, and intergenerational mobility in developing countries.

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Abstract

Same-type teachers are extolled as a way to improve learning outcomes of socially disadvantaged students. This paper uses a relatively understudied social characteristic, caste, to study whether same-type teachers improve learning in a low-income country. Rich longitudinal data from Pakistan allows identification of causal effects using child fixed effects specifications. Low caste boys have significantly higher learning outcomes when taught by high caste teachers. Low caste boys have higher aspirations, and their parents spend significantly more time helping them with homework, when taught by these teachers. These results illustrate that, contrary to previous findings, in some settings different-type teachers may also promote educational attainment and aspirations, and thus intergenerational mobility.

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