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Freed from Illiteracy? A Closer Look at Venezuela's Misión Robinson Literacy Campaign

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  • Daniel Ortega
  • Francisco Rodríguez

Abstract

We evaluate the success of the Venezuelan government's latest nationwide literacy program, Misión Robinson, using official Venezuelan government survey data. Controlling for existing trends in literacy rates by age groups over the period 1975-2005, we find at most a small positive effect of Misión Robinson on literacy rates, and in many specifications the program's impact is statistically indistinguishable from zero. This main result is robust to time series analysis by birth cohort and to state-level difference-in-differences estimation. The results appear to be inconsistent with recent official claims of the complete eradication of illiteracy in Venezuela, but they resonate with existing research on other adult literacy programs, which have usually been expensive failures. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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  • Daniel Ortega & Francisco Rodríguez, 2008. "Freed from Illiteracy? A Closer Look at Venezuela's Misión Robinson Literacy Campaign," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(1), pages 1-30, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:v:57:y:2008:i:1:p:1-30
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Baltagi, Badi H. & Wu, Ping X., 1999. "Unequally Spaced Panel Data Regressions With Ar(1) Disturbances," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(06), pages 814-823, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Deshpande, Ashwini & Desrochers, Alain & Ksoll, Christopher & Shonchoy, Abu S., 2017. "The Impact of a Computer-based Adult Literacy Program on Literacy and Numeracy: Evidence from India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 451-473.
    2. Niels-Hugo Blunch & Claus C. Pörtner, 2011. "Literacy, Skills, and Welfare: Effects of Participation in Adult Literacy Programs," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 17-66.
    3. Allcott, Hunt & Ortega, Daniel E., 2009. "The performance of decentralized school systems : evidence from Fe y Alegría in Venezuela," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4879, The World Bank.
    4. repec:afe:journl:v:20:y:2018:i:2:p:35-60 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Christopher Ksoll, Janny Aker, Danielle Miller, Karla C. Perez-Mendoza, and Susan L. Smalley, 2014. "Learning without Teachers? A Randomized Experiment of a Mobile Phone-Based Adult Education Program in Los Angeles - Working Paper 368," Working Papers 368, Center for Global Development.
    6. Blunch, Niels-Hugo & Hammer, Jeffrey S., 2018. "The Last of the Lost Generations? Formal and Non-Formal Education in Ghana during Times of Economic Decline and Recovery," GLO Discussion Paper Series 208, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    7. Blunch, Niels-Hugo, 2013. "Staying Alive: Adult Literacy Programs and Child Mortality in Rural Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 114-126.
    8. Niels-Hugo Blunch & Jeffrey S. Hammer, 2018. "The Last of the Lost Generations? Formal and Non-Formal Education in Ghana during Times of Economic Decline and Recovery," Journal of African Development, African Finance and Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 35-60.
    9. Barakat, Bilal, 2016. "Improving Adult Literacy Without Improving The Literacy of Adults? A Cross-National Cohort Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 242-257.
    10. Martínez, Luis R., 2017. "Transnational insurgents: Evidence from Colombia's FARC at the border with Chávez's Venezuela," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 138-153.
    11. Arusha Cooray (University of Wollongong), "undated". "Does Colonialism Exert a Long Term Economic Impact on Adult Literacy?," QEH Working Papers qehwps176, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.

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