Research

The Effect of Social Programs and Exposure to Professionals on the Educational Aspirations of the Poor

Authors

Published

Economics of Education Review, 5 ed., vol. 31, pp. 778-798, October (4th Quarter/Autumn) 2012

Website

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272775712000647

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 poor parents have for their children, and explores the role of exposure to educated professionals as a possible channel for increasing these aspirations. First, using differences-in-differences, we show that the Mexican antipoverty program PROGRESA raises the educational aspirations of beneficiary parents for their children of a third of a school year. Then, exploiting PROGRESA's mandated differential exposure to professionals, using triple differences, we find evidence suggesting that educational aspirations for children from high-exposure households are almost half of a school year higher six months after the start of the program. Finally, we show that there is a positive correlation between parental aspirations and children's educational attainment.



Silvia Prina



Social Media
Weatherhead School of Management
Case Western Reserve University

10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7235 USA

216.368.2030

weatherhead@case.edu