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The effect of social programs and exposure to professionals on the educational aspirations of the poor

Author

Listed:
  • Carlos Chiapa

    (El Colegio de México)

  • José Luis Garrido

    (El Colegio de México)

  • Silvia Prina

    (Case Western Reserve University)

Abstract

Investment in human capital is an important tool for reducing poverty. However, the poor may lack the capacity to aspire, which often results in underinvestment in their children’s education. This paper studies the effect of a social program on the educational aspirations of the poor, and explores the role of exposure to educated professionals as a possible channel for increasing aspirations. First, using differences-in-differences, we show that beneficiary parents of the Mexican antipoverty program PROGRESA have higher educational aspirations for their children of a third of a school year than do non-beneficiary parents. This effect corresponds to a 15% increase in the proportion of parents who aspire for their children to finish college. Then, we exploit the design of the program whose requirements cause its target population to have different levels of mandated exposure to doctors and nurses. Our triple difference estimate shows that, educational aspirations for children from high-exposure households (relative to low- exposure households) in treatment villages (relative to control villages) were a third of a school year higher six months after the start of the program (relative to before its introduction). These results suggest that the change in aspirations is driven by exposure to highly educated professionals.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Chiapa & José Luis Garrido & Silvia Prina, 2010. "The effect of social programs and exposure to professionals on the educational aspirations of the poor," Serie documentos de trabajo del Centro de Estudios Económicos 2010-11, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos.
  • Handle: RePEc:emx:ceedoc:2010-11
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social programs; educational aspirations; poverty; educational aspirations;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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