nep-lam New Economics Papers
on Central and South America
Issue of 2023‒03‒20
three papers chosen by

  1. Impact of COVID-19 on higher education: Evidence from Uruguay By Elisa Failache; Nicolás Fiori; Noemi Katzkowicz; Alina Machado; Luciana Méndez
  2. The Efficacy of Large-Scale Affirmative Action at Elite Universities By Cecilia Machado; Germán Reyes; Evan Riehl
  3. What Makes a Program Good? Evidence from Short-Cycle Higher Education Programs in Five Developing Countries By Marina Bassi; Lelys Dinarte-Diaz; Maria Marta Ferreyra; Sergio Urzua

  1. By: Elisa Failache (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Nicolás Fiori (Universidad de la República (Uruguay)); Noemi Katzkowicz (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Alina Machado (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía); Luciana Méndez (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: This article provides empirical evidence about the effects of COVID-19 on university students' educational outcomes in the first year of enrollment for a developing country, Uruguay. To do this, we use administrative microdata from the public university students from 2017 to 2020. Our findings show that students enrolled in 2020 are more likely to drop out and take fewer courses but are more prone to obtain larger scores than the previous generations. These effects are more pronounced for males and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition, using survey data, we find that the lack of access to bibliographic material, the lack of interaction with teachers and students, and not having adequate resources is associated with a reduction in the number of approved courses, a less average score, and enrollment in fewer courses. Moreover, the possibility of having classes at any time, taking courses from home and avoiding the travelling time increase the number of approved courses and the average score. Finally, we observe that employed students do relatively worse than non-employed students.
    Keywords: pandemic, university, educational outcomes
    JEL: I23 I24 I25
    Date: 2022–03
  2. By: Cecilia Machado (Graduate School of Economics, Getúlio Vargas Foundation); Germán Reyes (Department of Economics, Cornell University); Evan Riehl (Department of Economics and ILR School, Cornell University)
    Abstract: We study the effects of affirmative action at an elite Brazilian university that adopted race- and income-based quotas for 45 percent of its admission slots. We link admission records to national employer-employee data to examine how the policy affected the careers of both its targeted beneficiaries and the university’s other students. For students admitted through affirmative action, the policy led to a modest increase in early-career earnings that faded as their careers progressed. Conversely, the adoption of affirmative action caused a large and persistent decrease in earnings for the university’s most highly ranked students. We present evidence that these negative earnings effects are driven by a reduction in human capital accumulation and a decline in the value of networking.
    JEL: I26 J24 J31
    Date: 2023–03
  3. By: Marina Bassi; Lelys Dinarte-Diaz; Maria Marta Ferreyra; Sergio Urzua
    Abstract: Short-cycle higher education programs (SCPs) can play a central role in skill development and higher education expansion, yet their quality varies greatly within and among countries. In this paper we explore the relationship between programs’ practices and inputs (quality determinants) and student academic and labor market outcomes. We design and conduct a novel survey to collect program-level information on quality determinants and average outcomes for Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Peru. Categories of quality determinants include training and curriculum, infrastructure, faculty, link with productive sector, costs and funding, and practices on student admission and institutional governance. We also collect administrative, student-level data on higher education and formal employment for SCP students in Brazil and Ecuador and match it to survey data. Using machine learning methods, we select the quality determinants that predict outcomes at the program and student levels. Estimates indicate that some quality determinants may favor academic and labor market outcomes while others may hinder them. Two practices predict improvements in all labor market outcomes in Brazil and Ecuador—teaching numerical competencies and providing job market information—and one practice—teaching numerical competencies—additionally predicts improvements in labor market outcomes for all survey countries. Since quality determinants account for 20-40 percent of the explained variation in student-level outcomes, quality determinants might have a role shrinking program quality gaps. Findings have implications for the design and replication of high-quality SCPs, their regulation, and the development of information systems.
    Keywords: higher education, short-cycle degrees, quality
    JEL: I22 I23 I26 J24
    Date: 2023

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