Improving School Management of Violence: Evidence from a Nationwide Policy in Peru

Exposure to school violence has been 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 government intervention that aimed to improve school leaders’ 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 15 percentage points and that the number of reports of violence rose among eligible schools. Combining unique administrative and primary data, I provide suggestive evidence that the documented rise in reports of violence is primarily due to shifts in reporting rather than a greater incidence of school violence. Upon exploring the short-term impacts on education-related outcomes, I find the intervention reduced students’ likelihood of switching schools by two percentage points. These findings add to our understanding of the benefits of investing in school staff skills for safer learning environments.

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