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Test-Mex: Estimating the effects of school year length on student performance in Mexico

  • Agüero, Jorge M.
  • Beleche, Trinidad

Estimating the impact of changing school inputs on student performance is often difficult because these inputs are endogenously determined. We investigate a quasi-experiment that altered the number of instructional days prior to a nationwide test in Mexico. Our exogenous source of variation comes from across states and over time changes in the date when the school year started and the date when the test was administered. We find that having more days of instruction prior to examination slightly improves student performance but exhibits diminishing marginal returns. The effects vary along the distribution of resources as determined by a poverty index, with lower improvements in poorer schools. These findings imply a weaker net benefit of policies expanding the length of the school year as they could widen the achievement gap by socioeconomic status.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 103 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 353-361

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:103:y:2013:i:c:p:353-361
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

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  1. Jere H. Behrman & Susan W. Parker & Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2012. "Aligning Learning Incentives of Students and Teachers: Results from a Social Experiment in Mexican High Schools," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-004, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Gertler, Paul & Patrinos, Harry & Rubio-Codina, Marta, 2008. "Empowering parents to improve education : evidence from rural Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3935, The World Bank.
  3. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  4. Marcotte, Dave E. & Hemelt, Steven W., 2007. "Unscheduled School Closings and Student Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 2923, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Sims, David P., 2008. "Strategic responses to school accountability measures: It's all in the timing," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 58-68, February.
  6. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  7. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2007. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence From the German Short School Years," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1216-1242, October.
  8. Bellei, Cristián, 2009. "Does lengthening the school day increase students' academic achievement? Results from a natural experiment in Chile," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 629-640, October.
  9. Steven C. McMullen & Kathryn E. Rouse, 2012. "The Impact of Year-Round Schooling on Academic Achievement: Evidence from Mandatory School Calendar Conversions," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 230-52, November.
  10. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F3-F33, February.
  11. Marcotte, Dave E., 2007. "Schooling and test scores: A mother-natural experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 629-640, October.
  12. Juan Llach & Cecilia Adrogué & María Gigaglia, 2009. "Do Longer School Days Have Enduring Educational, Occupational, or Income Effects? A Natural Experiment in Buenos Aires, Argentina," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
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