Dictatorship, Higher Education and Social Mobility
83 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2020 Last revised: 15 Aug 2021
Date Written: August 28, 2020
We study the relationship between political regimes and higher education and its implications for social mobility and political opposition in the context of the 1973 coup that brought Augusto Pinochet to power in Chile. We show that the Pinochet dictatorship's aims of political control and fiscal conservatism caused a large contraction of all universities in the country, mostly through a steady reduction in the number of openings for new students. Individuals that reached college age shortly after the coup experienced a sharp decline in college enrollment, had worse labor market outcomes throughout the life cycle and struggled to climb up the socioeconomic ladder. These individuals registered to vote at higher rates for the 1988 plebiscite that triggered the democratic transition and we provide suggestive evidence that they increasingly voted against Pinochet. After democratization, children with a parent in the affected cohorts are also less likely to enroll in university.
Keywords: Chile, Pinochet, dictatorship, universities, social mobility, intergenerational transmission, democratization
JEL Classification: H52, I23, I24, I25
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation