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

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  • Agüero, Jorge M.
  • Beleche, Trinidad

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Agüero, Jorge M. & Beleche, Trinidad, 2013. "Test-Mex: Estimating the effects of school year length on student performance in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 353-361.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:103:y:2013:i:c:p:353-361
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2013.03.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fischer, Martin & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Schwarz, Nina, 2016. "The Sooner the Better? Compulsory Schooling Reforms in Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 10430, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Sarah Cattan & Daniel A. Kamhöfer & Martin Karlsson & Therese Nilsson, 2017. "The short- and long-term effects of student absence: evidence from Sweden," IFS Working Papers W17/21, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    3. Andrés Barrios F. & Giulia Bovini, 2017. "It's Time to Learn: Understanding the Differences in Returns to Instruction Time," CEP Discussion Papers dp1521, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Alejandro J. Ganimian & Richard J. Murnane, 2014. "Improving Educational Outcomes in Developing Countries: Lessons from Rigorous Impact Evaluations," NBER Working Papers 20284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Barrios Fernandez, Andrés & Bovini, Giulia, 2017. "It’s time to learn: understanding the differences in returns to instruction time," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86618, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Andrietti, Vincenzo, 2015. "The causal effects of increased learning intensity on student achievement: Evidence from a natural experiment," EconStor Preprints 120874, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    7. Sarah Cattan & Daniel A. Kamhöfer & Martin Karlsson & Therese Nilsson, 2017. "The short- and long-term effects of student absence: evidence from Sweden," IFS Working Papers W17/21, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    8. Marta Favara & Alan Sanchez, 2017. "Psychosocial competencies and risky behaviours in Peru," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 6(1), pages 1-40, December.
    9. Cassette, Aurélie & Farvaque, Etienne, 2016. "A dirty deed done dirt cheap: Reporting the blame of a national reform on local politicians," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 127-144.
    10. Hofmann, Sarah & Mühlenweg, Andrea, 2017. "Learning Intensity Effects in Students' Mental and Physical Health - Evidence from a Large Scale Natural Experiment in Germany," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-622, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    11. Fischer, Martin & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Schwarz, Nina, 2017. "The long-term effects of long terms: Compulsory schooling reforms in Sweden," Ruhr Economic Papers 733, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    12. Fricke, Hans, 2014. "Tuition Fees and Student Achievement - Evidence from a Differential Raise in Fees," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100521, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mexico; Standardized tests; School year length; Student achievement;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy

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