University of Sussex
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Three essays on the economics of education in Latin America

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posted on 2024-02-12, 13:55 authored by Maria Iocco BariasMaria Iocco Barias

This thesis comprises three essays on the economics of education in Latin America, focusing on the impact evaluation of three educational measures or policies, two in Chile and one in Guatemala. Chapter One assesses the impact of a teaching training scholarship in Chile aimed at drawing high-performers into pursuing an education degree. Using a Regression Discontinuity Design, I evaluate the effects of financial aid on enrolment, persistence, and graduation. Results show an increase in enrolment but no effect on persistence and graduation, suggesting a short-term effect only. Chapter Two evaluates another teaching training reform, this time in Guatemala, that required primary teachers to get a bachelor’s degree in education before becoming primary school teachers. Exploiting an unaffected group of students in a Difference-in-Differences approach, I find a decrease in enrolment but an unclear impact on student performance. The analysis of the different types of teachers’ colleges also showed that all decreased their enrolment. However, there are also unclear effects on the official schools’ performance. Chapter Three measures the effects of planned school closures on the academic performance of primary or middle students in Chile. Using a value-added model, and a cohort that sat three standardised tests in grades four, six, and eight, I analyse the effects of the forced relocation. Results show an overall null impact on reading and math, but the effect is heterogeneous by the type of school closing. Besides, the difference between the closing and the receiving school is one of the drivers of the results. Overall, these three chapters analyse the educational systems in Latin America and evaluate the impact of policies or measures implemented to improve teacher quality or student performance, which were only partially successful.


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  • Economics Theses

Qualification level

  • doctoral

Qualification name

  • phd


University of Sussex

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