Do Longer School Days Have Enduring Educational, Occupational, or Income Effects? A Natural Experiment in Buenos Aires, Argentina
In 1971, longer school days were decreed for around half the public primary schools in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since participating schools were chosen roughly at random, an unusual opportunity for a natural experiment was created. In 2006 and 2007, we interviewed a sample of 380 alumni of the 1971 cohort, thirty years after their 1977 graduation in schools both with and without longer days. The main results are as follows. Students that attended double-shift (DS) primary schools had secondary school graduation rates 21 percent higher than those that attended single-shift primary schools. This result is mainly explained by what happened with the students with low socioeconomic status. Regarding tertiary and postgraduate educational levels, we have found both positive and negative impacts of DS. These last results, taken together with the absence of enduring effects of DS on income and employment and with the fact that DS students do not have a better knowledge of a second language, in spite of having had it as a subject in the school, suggest that the quality of the content and learning in DS schools was not good. These findings are very relevant when considering the extension of DS to other schools or to the whole educational system.
Volume (Year): Volume 10 Number 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): Fall 2009 (August)
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