Laia Navarro Sola (Northwestern)
February 5 @ 12:00 - 13:15
“Secondary School Expansion through Televised Lessons: The Labor Market Returns of the Mexican Telesecundaria”
Abstract: In areas where there is an insufficient supply of qualified teachers, delivering instruction through technology may be a solution to meet the demand for education. This paper analyzes the educational and labor market impacts of an expansion of junior secondary education in Mexico through telesecundarias – schools using televised lessons, currently serving 1.4 million students. To isolate the effects of telesecundarias, I exploit their staggered rollout from 1968 to present. I show that for every additional telesecundaria per 50 children, ten students enroll in junior secondary education and two pursue further education. Using the telesecundaria expansion as an instrument, I find that an additional year of education induced by telesecundaria enrollment increases average income by 17.6%. This increase in income comes partly from increased labor force participation and a shift away from agriculture and the informal sector. Since schooling decisions are sequential, the estimated returns combine the direct effect of attending telesecundarias and the effects of further schooling. I decompose these two effects by interacting the telesecundaria expansion with baseline access to upper secondary institutions. Roughly 84% of the estimated returns come directly from junior secondary education, while the remaining 16% are returns to higher educational levels.