Improving school management of violence: evidence from a nation-wide policy in Peru

Case Studies & Research
65 p.

Exposure to school violence has proven to be detrimental to human capital formation, but there is limited rigorous evidence about how to tackle this pervasive issue. This paper examines the impacts of a large-scale intervention that aimed to improve the school heads’ skills to manage school violence in Peru. I exploit the eligibility rules used to select beneficiary schools and use a fuzzy regression discontinuity design to estimate the short-term impacts of the intervention on violence and education-related outcomes. The findings show that the likelihood of reporting violence increased by 37 percentage points and that the number of reports of violence also rose among eligible schools. Using unique administrative, qualitative, and primary data, I find suggestive evidence that the documented rise in reports of violence is primarily due to shifts in reporting behaviour rather than a greater incidence of school violence. Upon exploring the short-term impacts on education-related outcomes, I find the intervention reduced the student likelihood of switching schools by three percentage points. These findings add to our understanding of the benefits of investing in school staff skills that contribute to the creation of safer learning environments.

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