Firing silver bullets with caution : does Mexico's Progresa impact parental demand for education equally among indigenous and non-indigenous populations?
Carrington, Ryan Daniel.
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. While there is broad consensus that education reduces poverty, it is not clear that poverty alleviation programs that tackle poverty through education are successfully and equitably reducing poverty among their poor. Mexico's Progresa conditional cash transfer (CCT) is one such program that tries to tackle the intergenerational transmission of poverty by providing incentives for parents to send their children to school. The literature shows that indigenous populations tend to be more marginalized, poorer, less educated, and more likely to participate in child labor. Because of persistent gaps between indigenous and non-indigenous populations in Mexico, it is hypothesized that indigenous parents in Progresa will demand less education for their children in the context of receiving the benefit than non-indigenous parents. Using the Encuesta de Caracteristicas Socioeconomicas de los Hogares (ENCEL) from 1998, OLS regressions reaffirm the benefit of the program in stimulating demand for education overall, but suggest that indigenous parents in Progresa demand less education than their non-indigenous counterparts. The model also showed that indigenous populations demand more education outside of Progresa, undermining cultural arguments for poor educational outcomes in indigenous communities. It further suggests that something about Progresa is not well-suited for the particular needs of indigenous parents as they attempt to prevent their children from inheriting generations-old poverty. From these results, policy makers are advised to focus on improving the quality of the education that the students Progresa brought into schools receive, assuring access to schools for Mexico's most marginalized families, and providing equality of opportunity to those who would escape poverty and benefit from broader economic growth, as these factors are likely behind the lower demand for education among Mexico's indigenous parents in the program.
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