Broadcasting Human Capital? The Long Term Effects of Mexico's Telesecundarias


Every year over 1.3 million children in rural Mexico attend telesecundarias, middle schools with classes transmitted through satellite television. Telesecundarias operate like conventional schools but replace the need for on-site specialized teachers with televised content. While highly criticized, we know very little about the effectiveness of this model of distance learning. This paper estimates the educational and labor market outcomes of adolescents living in areas with no middle schools who were exposed to a telesecundaria expansion policy in 1994. I obtain causal estimates by exploiting geographical differences in the intensity of school openings and differences in cohort exposure induced by the timing of the policy. The estimates suggest that an additional telesecundaria per 1,000 adolescents led to an average increase of 0.22 years of education and a 9% increase in monthly earnings, arising from both an increase in individuals’ labor supply and a higher wage.

Last updated on 05/23/2018