Technocratic Autocracy, Higher Education and Social Mobility

82 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2020 Last revised: 31 Aug 2020

See all articles by Maria Angelica Bautista

Maria Angelica Bautista

University of Chicago

Felipe González

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile - Institute of Economics

Luis R. Martinez

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Pablo Munoz

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics

Mounu Prem

Universidad del Rosario

Date Written: August 28, 2020

Abstract

We study the capture of higher education by the Pinochet dictatorship following the 1973 military coup in Chile. Echoing the views of their mentors in the Chicago School, the regime’s technocrats sharply reduced government funding for higher education. This led to a steady reduction in the number of openings for incoming college students and caused a large decrease in enrollment for cohorts reaching college age in the following years. Contrary to the technocrats' claim that universities were bloated and had low returns, we find that the affected cohorts had worse economic outcomes throughout the life cycle and struggled to climb up the socioeconomic ladder. Decades after democratization, children with a parent in these cohorts also have a lower probability of college enrollment. These findings shed light on the long-lasting costs of Pinochet’s technocratic reforms and cast doubt on the view that non-democracy may be desirable at early stages of development.

Keywords: Dictatorship, university, technocracy, Chile, Chicago Boys

JEL Classification: H52, I23, I24, I25

Suggested Citation

Bautista, Maria Angelica and González, Felipe and Martinez, Luis and Munoz, Pablo and Prem, Mounu, Technocratic Autocracy, Higher Education and Social Mobility (August 28, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3597798 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3597798

Maria Angelica Bautista

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Felipe González

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile - Institute of Economics ( email )

Casilla 76
Correo 17
Santiago
Chile

Luis Martinez (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Pablo Munoz

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

579 Evans Hall
Berkeley, CA 94709
United States

Mounu Prem

Universidad del Rosario ( email )

Casa Pedro Fermín
Calle 14 # 4-69
Bogota
Colombia

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