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Targeting High School Scholarships to the Poor: The Impact of a Program in Mexico

Rafael De Hoyos, Orazio Attanasio, Costas Meghir

NBER Working Paper No. 26023
Issued in June 2019
NBER Program(s):The Program on Children, The Development Economics Program, The Education Program, The Labor Studies Program

This paper uses an RCT to estimate the impact of PROBEMS, a scholarship program in Mexico aimed at improving graduation rates and test scores among upper secondary school students from poor backgrounds. We find that, on average, the program has no impact either on graduation rates or on Math and Spanish test scores. We identify two possible reasons for this failure: a. the program was badly targeted, with many of the recipients being from less disadvantaged families than intended; b) many eligible students did not have a sufficiently strong academic achievement that would allow them to productively attend and complete successfully the academic requirements of upper secondary school. This points to accumulated achievement deficits that could be addressed by interventions targeting learning at an earlier stage.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26023

 
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