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The effect of social programs and exposure to professionals on the educational aspirations of the poor

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Author Info

  • Carlos Chiapa

    ()
    (El Colegio de México)

  • José Luis Garrido

    ()
    (El Colegio de México)

  • Silvia Prina

    ()
    (Case Western Reserve University)

Abstract

Investment in human capital is an important tool for reducing poverty. However, the poor may lack the capacity to aspire, which often results in underinvestment in their children’s education. This paper studies the effect of a social program on the educational aspirations of the poor, and explores the role of exposure to educated professionals as a possible channel for increasing aspirations. First, using differences-in-differences, we show that beneficiary parents of the Mexican antipoverty program PROGRESA have higher educational aspirations for their children of a third of a school year than do non-beneficiary parents. This effect corresponds to a 15% increase in the proportion of parents who aspire for their children to finish college. Then, we exploit the design of the program whose requirements cause its target population to have different levels of mandated exposure to doctors and nurses. Our triple difference estimate shows that, educational aspirations for children from high-exposure households (relative to low- exposure households) in treatment villages (relative to control villages) were a third of a school year higher six months after the start of the program (relative to before its introduction). These results suggest that the change in aspirations is driven by exposure to highly educated professionals.

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File URL: http://cee.colmex.mx/documentos/documentos-de-trabajo/2010/dt201011.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos in its series Serie documentos de trabajo del Centro de Estudios Económicos with number 2010-11.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:emx:ceedoc:2010-11

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Web page: http://www.colmex.mx/centros/cee/
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Keywords: social programs; educational aspirations; poverty; educational aspirations;

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Cited by:
  1. Matteo Bobba & Jeremie Gignoux, 2011. "Policy-Induced Social Interactions and Schooling Decisions," Research Department Publications 4725, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. Matteo Bobba & Jérémie Gignoux, 2014. "Policy Evaluation in the Presence of Spatial Externalities: Reassessing the Progresa Program," PSE Working Papers halshs-00646590, HAL.
  3. Otto, Annette, 2013. "Saving in childhood and adolescence: Insights from developmental psychology," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 8-18.
  4. Matteo Bobba & Jérémie Gignoux, 2014. "Policy Evaluation in the Presence of Spatial Externalities: Reassessing the Progresa Program," Working Papers halshs-00646590, HAL.
  5. Marcus Böhme, 2012. "Migration and Education Aspirations - Another Channel of Brain Gain?," Kiel Working Papers 1811, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

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