Is housing a sound educational policy? : evidence from Chile
Dumas, Victor A.
Educational policymakers have overwhelmingly focused their attention on policies that affect in-school factors, like class size, school inputs and teacher accountability. As a consequence of this behavior little attention has been given to policies that may influence educational outcomes through out-of-school factors. The main purpose of this research paper is to recognize the positive effect that sound housing policy may have on educational outcomes. By using a unique social survey from Chile, this research paper is able to estimate the effect housing subsidies have on years of schooling, as well as on the probability of dropping out of high school and be held back in school. The methodology employed in this study uses a sample of individuals from households that are applying for a housing subsidy plus those from families that have recently received one. The underlying assumption is that the only significant difference across both groups is caused by the housing subsidy itself, namely through better housing quality, lower levels of overcrowding and tenure of dwelling. The study finds that students from families that have received a housing subsidy complete more years of schooling, are less likely to be held back or dropout of high school. These effects are larger for families in the bottom end of the income distribution suggesting that housing programs that target the most vulnerable groups may have stronger positive effects.
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