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Abstract

A number of policy interventions have attempted to reduce educational inequity by providing more monetary resources to schools or teachers. The three papers that compose my dissertation use Chilean educational data to explore the impact of two programs that provide supplemental funds to persistently disadvantaged schools in different ways: by increasing teacher salaries, and by providing somewhat discretionary funds directly to particular schools. The first chapter examines the effects of a compensating wage differential program, the Difficult Condition Bonus, for teachers in disadvantaged schools. My coauthor Rebecca Hinze-Pifer and I use discontinuities in the bonus assignment to estimate the impact of this program on the labor supply of teachers at the school-level. Our results show that teachers who get a higher bonus work, on average, fewer hours per week. This is potential evidence that teaching at such schools is unpleasant and teachers wish to work less if they can afford to. The second paper evaluates a voluntary policy, Subvenci\'on Especial Preferencial (Preferential School Subsidy or SEP), which provides an additional per-student payment to schools that accept disadvantaged students. I address the selection problem by using a nonparametric analysis to bound the effect of SEP on fourth grade standardized test scores. Motivated by the nature of policy and economic theory, I employ Monotone Treatment Selection (MTS), no time trend, policy invariance, and Monotone Treatment Response (MTR) assumptions, among others. Some of these assumptions are very strong, but without them I am not able to definitely state that there is a positive impact of SEP on academic achievement. SEP was created with the main goal of improving academic performance of disadvantaged students with the purpose of equalizing educational opportunities for all students. However, when policies are implemented, there are other outcomes, planned or not. In the third chapter, I make an effort to measure the impact of SEP on one of those different outcomes: teacher turnover. I find evidence that SEP increases teacher turnover and that the effect increases with the number of years of SEP implementation. The mechanisms underlying these effects are unclear and more research needs to be conducted to be able to say if this is a desirable outcome or not.

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