Boarding at School and Students’ Well-Being: The Case of Rural China

Binbin Shu, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Yuying Tong, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Using China Family Panel Studies 2010 data, we examine the consequences of living at school for children aged 10-15 in rural China from multiple dimensions. We found that boarding at school is beneficial for students’ academics in both word recognition and numerical skills. However, boarding students are also more likely to be sick and have higher depression scores, although they are also less likely to be overweight or underweight. Our results are consistent across fixed effects regression models and propensity score matching analyses, showing that there is little selection bias between boarders and nonboarders in rural China. We speculate that the positive outcome is caused by their increased exposure to the learning environment as rural parents have little knowledge or time to supervise their leaning at home. In contrast, detachment from the home environment and dormitory conditions might be the causes of more frequent sickness and higher levels of depression.

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 Presented in Session P4. Children and Youth/Population and Aging