Days of Schooling and Educational Inequality: Evidence from schools with saturday class in Japan

Author Name INUI Tomohiko (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / KODAMA Naomi (Research Associate, RIETI) / NAGASHIMA Masaru (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies)
Creation Date/NO. November 2018 18-E-080
Research Project Research on the Improvement in Resource Allocation and Productivity among the Healthcare and Education Service Industries
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Past literature suggests that fewer days of public schooling in a week may increase educational inequality based on household income, as richer households have the capacity to increase their private educational expenditures to take better advantage of increased leisure time, while poorer ones do not. Contrarily, does inequality decrease with additional public school days? We empirically assess this question by using the unique policy change in Japan that increased schools with class on Saturday in addition to the usual Monday-to-Friday class. Our estimation with child-level panel data reveals that when review sessions are offered for free by school teachers on Saturdays, households decrease educational expenditures, and this effect is significant for poorer households, while it is insignificant for richer ones. This suggests the possibility that increased school days may reduce educational inequality. We further report heterogeneous impacts of different types of Saturday classes, and discuss policy implications based on the results.