UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Diane Charlton, University of California, Davis

Access to Secondary Schools Accelerating the Agricultural Transformation: Analysis of Panel Data from Rural Mexico

Date and Location

Monday, October 5, 2015, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
ARE Library Conference Room, 4101 Social Sciences and Humanities


The labor force from rural Mexico is currently transitioning out of agriculture, and I find that increasing access to secondary schools is a key factor in this transition. Using household survey data nationally representative of rural Mexico between 1980 and 2010, I find that access to secondary school reduces the probability of working in agriculture at age 20 by 5.4 percentage points and the magnitude of this impact grows with age. I use a differences-in-differences approach with a novel proxy for secondary school access based on sustained changes in school enrollment rates within villages. Field data from a selection of sample villages affirm this proxy, and regression results are robust to several alternative hypotheses. Understanding the impacts of secondary school access on labor outcomes has important policy implications since policy-makers can often influence school supply in rural developing areas directly. Economic theory maintains that the agricultural transformation is critical for economic development, increasing labor productivity, and raising incomes. My results show that policies to promote rural access to schools can simultaneously accelerate the agricultural transformation.

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