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Essays in economics of education

Fernandez, Andres Barrios (2019) Essays in economics of education. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

This thesis consists of three chapters that investigate how the institutions and organization of schools affect their performance, and how neighbors and siblings affect human capital investment decisions. Chapter 1 studies whether the effect of a reform that substantially increased daily instruction time in Chilean primary schools varies depending on school institutions. Focusing on legacy enrollment students and exploiting an IV strategy, it finds that gains are larger in no-fee charter schools than in public schools. Autonomy over personnel decisions emerges as an important institutional feature: to provide additional instruction hours, charter schools rely more on hiring new teachers, and less on increasing the workload of incumbent teachers. Chapter 2 investigates whether the decision to attend university depends on enrollment of close neighbors. The analysis uses detailed geographic and educational information from Chile and exploits the variation in enrollment generated by the rules that define eligibility for financial aid. The chapter shows that close neighbors have a large and significant impact on university enrollment of younger applicants, suggesting that policies that expand access to university generate spillovers on the peers of their direct beneficiaries. The documented effect is particularly strong among individuals who are more likely to interact and in areas where university attendance is low. Chapter 3 analyzes how the probability of applying and enrolling in a particular university (or program) changes when an older sibling enrolls in it. In both countries, universities select their students using deferred acceptance admission systems (DA). This chapter exploits thousands of sharp admission cutoffs generated by these systems, and in a fuzzy RD setting shows that older siblings generate significant spillovers on the application and enrollment decisions of their younger siblings. The chapter discusses five classes of mechanisms and presents evidence consistent with information being a relevant driver of the results.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2019 Andres Barrios Fernandez
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Sets: Departments > Economics
Supervisor: Spinnewijn, Johannes and Pischke, Steve
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3957

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