IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Investing in schooling in Chile: The role of information about financial aid for higher education


  • Dinkelman, Taryn
  • Martínez A, Claudia


Recent research demonstrates that imperfect information about returns to education distorts schooling investments. Questions remain about what information is missing in different settings and for whom such information is most critical. We conducted a field experiment to investigate whether Grade 8 children increase effort after learning about financial aid for post-secondary schooling; whether responses are larger for high or low ability students; or when parents as well as children learn about financial aid. We randomly assigned over 6,000 Chilean 8th graders in poor urban schools to information treatment or control groups, with half of the treatment group watching an information DVD at school (Student group) and the other half receiving this DVD to watch at home (Family group). Combining survey with administrative data, we find substantial improvements in financial aid knowledge in treated schools and a 14% reduction in absenteeism, but no effects on 8th Grade scores or 9th Grade enrolment. Students with higher baseline grades appear to drive most of the significant responses. Surprisingly, although Family group parents report significantly better knowledge of DVD content, using both experimental variation and non-experimental methods we show that watching at home has no larger impact on child effort than watching at school, at least for students likely to choose to watch the DVD. These results suggest that while educational inputs can improve after learning more about the higher education production function, particularly for higher ability students, such information is insufficient for improving educational outcomes, even when parents are involved.

Suggested Citation

  • Dinkelman, Taryn & Martínez A, Claudia, 2011. "Investing in schooling in Chile: The role of information about financial aid for higher education," CEPR Discussion Papers 8375, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8375

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Astrid Hopfensitz & Ernesto Reuben, 2009. "The Importance of Emotions for the Effectiveness of Social Punishment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(540), pages 1534-1559, October.
    2. Hwang, Sung-Ha & Bowles, Samuel, 2012. "Is altruism bad for cooperation?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 330-341.
    3. Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Happiness: A Revolution in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062771, January.
    4. Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "A Psychological Perspective on Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 162-168, May.
    5. Scharlemann, Jorn P. W. & Eckel, Catherine C. & Kacelnik, Alex & Wilson, Rick K., 2001. "The value of a smile: Game theory with a human face," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 617-640, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Chile; effort in school; financial aid; higher education;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8375. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.