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Comprehensive private schooling for low-income children: Experimental case-study evidence from Mexico

Lucrecia Santibañez, Juan E. Saavedra, Raja B. Kattan and Harry Patrinos ()

International Journal of Educational Development, 2021, vol. 87, issue C

Abstract: We use first-grade lottery-based admissions to estimate impacts and cost-effectiveness of a subsidized comprehensive private school for low-income children in Mexico City, part of a philanthropic organization supporting and operating similar schools worldwide. Relative to students who did not win the lottery, CHM lottery winners gain additional 0.18 SD in literacy and 0.09 SD in numeracy over the first three years of elementary school. Parents of lottery winners are more likely to report children’s school is academically demanding, rate the school higher and have greater expectations of children’s college completion. Achievement gains come at an increased cost relative to counterfactual public schools of $1000/pupil-year, which suggests low cost-effectiveness. Higher cost is explained by greater array of services and few economies of scale. Despite the high per student cost, this robust case study suggests philanthropic private schools have great potential to improve achievement amongst the region’s most vulnerable students and reduce longstanding learning and opportunity gaps.

Keywords: Private schools; International education/studies socioeconomically disadvantaged students; Randomized controlled trial; Mexico; Comprehensive schools; Latin America (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 I25 I28 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2021.102494

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