2015/32: When one door closes: the impact of the hagwon curfew on the consumption of private tutoring in the Republic of Korea
The Korean government has struggled against the proliferation of private tutoring for more than four decades. In 2006, state education authorities imposed a restriction on operating hours of hagwon (private tutoring academies or cram schools) in an attempt at reducing the economic and time resources spent on private tutoring. Since then, some provincial authorities have modified the curfew on hagwon. We take advantage of these policy shifts to identify average treatment effects taking a difference- in-differences approach. Our findings suggest that enforcing the curfew did not generate a significant reduction in the hours and resources spent on private tutoring, our results being heterogeneous by school level and socioeconomic status. Demand for private tutoring seems to be especially inelastic for high school students, who increased their consumption of alternative forms of private tutoring. As the consumption of private tutoring is positively correlated with academic performance and socioeconomic status, the curfew may have a negative effect on the equality of educational opportunities.