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Article

Does shadow education help students prepare for college? Evidence from Russia

Given the lack of causal evidence from developing countries, we examine the impact of participating in shadow education (private tutoring or other fee-based academic activities outside of formal schooling) on high school student achievement. Specifically, we analyze a unique dataset from Russia using a cross-subject student fixed effects model. We find that shadow education only positively impacts the achievement of high-achieving (and not low-achieving) students. Shadow education also does not lead students to substitute time away from their studies. Instead, our findings suggest that low-achieving students participate in low-quality shadow education which, in turn, contributes to inequality in college access.