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Education Choices in Mexico: Using a Structural Model and a Randomized Experiment to Evaluate PROGRESA

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  • Orazio P. Attanasio
  • Costas Meghir
  • Ana Santiago

Abstract

In this paper, we use an economic model to analyse data from a major randomized social experiment, namely PROGRESA in Mexico, and to evaluate its impact on school participation. We show the usefulness of using experimental data to estimate a structural economic model as well as the importance of a structural model in interpreting experimental results. The availability of the experiment also allows us to estimate the program's general equilibrium effects, which we then incorporate into our simulations. Our main findings are (i) the program's grant has a much stronger impact on school enrolment than an equivalent reduction in child wages; (ii) the program has a positive effect on the enrollment of children, especially after primary school; this result is well replicated by the parsimonious structural model; (iii) there are sizeable effects of the program on child wages, which, however, reduce the effectiveness of the program only marginally; and (iv) a revenue neutral change in the program that would increase the grant for secondary school children while eliminating for the primary school children would have a substantially larger effect on enrollment of the latter, while having minor effects on the former. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Orazio P. Attanasio & Costas Meghir & Ana Santiago, 2012. "Education Choices in Mexico: Using a Structural Model and a Randomized Experiment to Evaluate PROGRESA," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 37-66.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:79:y:2012:i:1:p:37-66
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/restud/rdr015
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    1. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Salvador Navarro, 2007. "The Identification And Economic Content Of Ordered Choice Models With Stochastic Thresholds," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1273-1309, November.
    2. Robert A. Moffitt, 1979. "The Labor Supply Response in the Gary Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(4), pages 477-487.
    3. Browning, Martin & Meghir, Costas, 1991. "The Effects of Male and Female Labor Supply on Commodity Demands," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 925-951, July.
    4. Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2004. "Income Variance Dynamics and Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 1-32, January.
    5. Richard Blundell & Pierre-André Chiappori & Costas Meghir, 2005. "Collective Labor Supply with Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1277-1306, December.
    6. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
    7. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts," NBER Working Papers 6385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Salvador Navarro, 2007. "The Identification & Economic Content of Ordered Choice Models with Stochastic Thresholds," Working Papers 200726, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
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