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Freed from Illiteracy? A Closer Look at Venezuela’s Robinson Literacy Campaign

Daniel Ortega (), Francisco Rodríguez () and Edward Miguel ()
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Daniel Ortega: Center for Finance, Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración

No 2006-025, Wesleyan Economics Working Papers from Wesleyan University, Department of Economics

Abstract: We evaluate the success of the Venezuelan government’s latest nationwide literacy program, Misión Robinson, using official Venezuelan government survey data. Controlling for existing trends in literacy rates by age groups over the period 1975 to 2005, we find at most a small positive effect of Robinson on literacy rates, and in many specifications the program impact is statistically indistinguishable from zero. This main result is robust to time series analysis by birth cohort, and to state-level difference-in-differences estimation. The results appear to be inconsistent with recent official claims of the complete eradication of illiteracy in Venezuela, but resonate with existing research on other adult literacy programs, which have usually been expensive failures.

Pages: 38 pages
Date: 2006-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cul and nep-lam
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Handle: RePEc:wes:weswpa:2006-025