Effects of a Private Comprehensive Schooling Model on Low-income Children: Experimental Evidence from Mexico

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Date and Time: 
Thursday, March 9, 2017
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Lucrecia Santibañez
Claremont Graduate University

One promising avenue to deliver high-quality services to poor populations in developing countries is through subsidized private schools. In theory, public-private partnerships (PPPs) can help countries satisfy unmet demand for schooling, as well as provide higher quality options at a fraction of the cost. As part of this study, we will investigate the impact and cost-effectiveness of a privately provided, affordable comprehensive schooling model for urban children in poverty. We use data from Christel House de Mexico (CHM), a non-profit philanthropic school in Mexico that provides free or heavily subsidized schooling to low-income urban children in Mexico city. The school spans grades 1 through 9.  Eligibility for access to CHM is means-tested and most families that attend CHM earn less than 2 minimum wages (about $US 200 per month). CHM adheres to a "No Excuses" model similar to those of many charter schools in the U.S. Our evaluation design takes advantage of the lottery assignment for first-grade positions for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 applicant cohorts. We find that the school has large positive effects in literacy, and positive, but smaller effects in Math. About one-third of the impact is due to a longer school day. Qualitative evidence suggests that rest could be attributed to higher teaching quality, better governance, and other school climate indicators.