School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program
This paper evaluates how the Progresa Program, which provides poor mothers in rural Mexico with education grants, has affected enrollment. Poor children who reside in communities randomly selected to participate in the initial phase of the Progresa are compared to those who reside in other (control) communities. Pre-program comparisons check the randomized design, and double- difference estimators of the program's effect on the treated are calculated by grade and sex. Probit models are also estimated for the probability a child is enrolled, controlling for additional characteristics of the child, their parents, local schools, and community, and for sample attrition, to evaluate the sensitivity of the program estimates. These estimates of program short-run effects on enrollment are extrapolated to the lifetime schooling and the earnings of adults to approximate the internal rate of return on the public schooling subsidies as they increase expected private wages.
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