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Just Making the Admission Cut-off: The Impact of the Offer of Admission to, and Enrollment in, a More Competitive School on the Graduation Outcomes of Upper-Secondary Applicants in Mexico City

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dc.description.abstract Many education systems around the world use a centralized admission process to assign students to schools (Pathak & Sethuraman, 2011; Lucas & Mbiti, 2012). However, applicants to oversubscribed schools are not always assigned to their most-preferred school. Thus, one naturally asks whether it makes a difference to applicants’ subsequent educational outcomes if they are offered a place in, and if they enroll in, a more competitive school. In Mexico City, each year about 300,000 teenagers apply for a seat at one of the nearly 650 public upper-secondary school options. The centralized admission process in Mexico City, where applicants are assigned based on the interplay between their score on the admission examination and their ranked list of school choices, provides a natural experiment that permits these questions to be addressed in a case study of one school system. In this paper, I capitalize on the natural experiment created at each oversubscribed public upper-secondary school in Mexico City, by the imposition of exogenous admission cut-off scores. Using rich administrative data provided by the school system for the 2005-2009 application cohorts, I estimate that on average applicants who are barely offered admission to a more competitive school option, and therefore lie at the bottom of that school’s ability distribution, have on average a 3.1 percentage points lower probability of graduating on-time, and 1.1 percentage points lower probability of graduating from public upper-secondary education relative to applicants who scored just below the admission cut-off. Given the high take-up rates of the offers of admission, I find that the effects of enrollment in a more competitive school are only slightly larger than they are in their analogous reduced-form estimates. In addition, I show that effects differ across the distribution of admission cut-off scores and for applicants with selected sociodemographic characteristics who scored just above the admission threshold. My results are robust to sensitivity analyses. en
dc.title Just Making the Admission Cut-off: The Impact of the Offer of Admission to, and Enrollment in, a More Competitive School on the Graduation Outcomes of Upper-Secondary Applicants in Mexico City en
dc.contributor.author Ortega Hesles, María Elena
dc.date.accessioned 2017-02-28T22:43:50Z
dc.date.available 2017-02-28T22:43:50Z
dc.date.issued 2017-02-28
dc.identifier.uri http://lacer.lacea.org/handle/123456789/61325
lacea.language.supported en
dc.description Working paper
dc.language.iso en
dc.subject Admission
dc.subject Enrollment
dc.subject Competitive School
dc.subject Graduation Outcomes
dc.subject Mexico
dc.type Working Paper


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