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Predicting individual wellbeing through test scores : evidence from a national assessment in Mexico


  • De Hoyos Navarro,Rafael E.
  • Estrada,Ricardo
  • Vargas,Maria Jose


This paper constructs two longitudinal datasets that record students'test scores in a national standardized exam in Mexico and track students from the end of primary (Grade 6) to the end of lower (Grade 9) and upper (Grade 12) secondary school, then to university and labor market participation up to two years after graduation from upper secondary. The results show that test scores are a strong predictor of future education and labor market outcomes. Using a large sample of twins in the data, the paper shows that the relationship between Grade 6 test scores and future education outcomes goes beyond family background. Finally, the paper exploits the within-individual correlation between subject test scores and finds evidence that this standardized assessment captures in a meaningful way the specific skills that it is designed to measure. These results show that, despite their limitations, large-scale standardized tests can capture skills that are important for future individual wellbeing.

Suggested Citation

  • De Hoyos Navarro,Rafael E. & Estrada,Ricardo & Vargas,Maria Jose, 2018. "Predicting individual wellbeing through test scores : evidence from a national assessment in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8459, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:8459

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    Cited by:

    1. Behrman, J. & Parker, S. & Todd, P. & Zhang, W., 2021. "Prospering through Prospera: CCT Impacts on Educational Attainment and Achievement in Mexico," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 2178, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Mira G. Potter-Schwartz, 2022. "Estimating Teacher Quality: Comparing Objective and Subjective Measures," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 50(3), pages 159-170, December.
    3. Michaelsen, Maren M. & Salardi, Paola, 2020. "Violence, psychological stress and educational performance during the “war on drugs” in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    4. Ricardo Estrada & María Lombardi, 2020. "Skills and Selection into Teaching: Evidence from Latin America," Department of Economics Working Papers wp_gob_2020_10, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.


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