This paper investigates whether the decision to attend university depends on
university enrollment of close neighbors. I create a unique dataset
combining detailed geographic information and educational records from different
public agencies in Chile, and exploit the quasi-random variation generated by
the rules that determine eligibility for student loans. I find that close
neighbors have a large and significant impact on university enrollment of younger
applicants. Potential applicants are around 11 percentage points more likely to attend
university if a close neighbor enrolled the year before. This effect is particularly
strong in areas with low exposure to university and among individuals who are
more likely to interact; the effect decreases both with geographic and social distance and
is weaker for individuals who have spent less time in the neighborhood. I also show
that the increase in university attendance translates into retention and
university completion. These effects are mediated by an increase in applications rather
than by an improvement on applicants' academic performance. This set of results suggests
that policies that expand access to university generate positive spillovers on close peers
of the direct beneficiaries.
This paper investigates whether the effects of a reform that substantially
increased daily instruction time in Chilean primary schools vary depending
on school institutions. Focusing on legacy enrollment students and exploiting
an IV strategy, we find that longer daily schedules increase reading scores
at the end of fourth grade and that the benefits are greater for pupils who
began primary education in no-fee charter schools rather than in public schools.
We provide evidence that these two types of publicly subsidized establishments,
which cater to similar students but differ in the degree of autonomy, expand
the teaching input in different ways: in order to provide the additional
instruction time, no-fee charter schools rely more on hiring new teachers
and less on increasing teachers’ working hours than public schools.
How are university choices shaped by siblings' experience in higher education? Using administrative
data from Chile, Croatia and Sweden, this paper investigates how university applications
and enrollment decisions are influenced by the path followed by older siblings in higher
education. In these three countries, universities select their students using deferred acceptance
admission systems. We exploit the quasi-random variation generated by thousands of admission
cutoffs and show that individuals are more likely to apply and enroll in both the institution
and the specific program of an older sibling. However, we find no spillovers in field of study choice.
These results persist for siblings far apart in age, who are unlikely to attend higher education at the
same time. We discuss three broad classes of mechanisms and present evidence consistent with the
transmission of information being a relevant driver of spillovers. Spillovers are stronger for programs
with better peers, lower dropout rates and in which graduates perform better in the labor market.
Older siblings' experience in university also seems to be important, suggesting that individuals learn
through their siblings if specific programs or institutions are a good match for them.