INTENDED AND UNINTENDED IMPACTS OF GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS IN AGRICULTURE AND EDUCATION
Castro Zarzur, Rosa
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Agriculture and education are often considered crucial programmatic areas for governmentsaround the globe. In their search for economic growth and social well-being, governments across the developing world implement policies aimed at enhancing human capital formation and increasing agricultural productivity. In this dissertation I study the intended and unintended impacts of three types of government programs commonly used to improve outcomes in agriculture and education. In countries where land was distributed to collectives or groups rather than to individuals,concerns about how collective ownership may hinder agricultural productivity led to a ”second wave” of land reforms . In my first chapter, I study a land tenure transition from collective to individual land rights, and present evidence on the impacts of the Philippine parcelization program. Contrary to its objective, the implementation of this transitional stage has increased tenure insecurity, albeit without affecting agricultural productivity for most farmers in the short term. In turn, higher tenure insecurity has prompted land leases and a reallocation of labor to the non-farm sector. These unintended effects are likely due to a nontransparent and lengthy implementation process stemming from governmental capacity constraints. My second and third chapters are on education. Teacher quality is one of the most relevantfactors influencing student learning and affecting human capital formation. Attracting the best candidates to the teaching profession has become central to improving education systems around the world. In my second chapter, I assess the effectiveness of an ability-based scholarship on attracting top-performing students into teaching majors. My third chapter is joint work with Miguel Sarzosa and Ricardo Espinoza. We studyhow free college, a policy that has been gaining momentum in Latin America, affects self-selection into teaching majors. We find that free college decreased the relative returns to pursuing a teaching career, making it substantially less popular among relatively poor high-performing students who now self-select into programs with higher returns. We also find that the reform reduced the academic qualifications of the pool of students entering teaching programs, which can negatively affect long-term teacher quality.