The Effect of Venezuelan Migration on Educational Outcomes in Colombia

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Sep 2020
About 1.8 of the 5.2 million Venezuelans who have left their country due to political and economic turmoil have settled in neighboring Colombia. The extent to which the Colombian schooling system can absorb the massive demand for education of Venezuelan children is key for their future trajectory of human capital accumulation, as well as that of Colombian students in receiving communities. In this paper, we estimate the effect of Venezuelan migration on educational outcomes of children living in settlement municipalities in Colombia, and distinguish between the effect of the migration shock on native as well as on migrant students. Specifically, we estimate the effect of the migration shock on school enrollment, dropout/promotion rates and standardized test scores. Our identification relies on a plausibly exogenous measure of the predicted migration shock faced by each Colombian municipality every year. We find that the migration shock increased the enrollment of Venezuelan students in both public and private schools and in all school grades, but also generated negative spillovers related to failing promotion rates and increasing dropout. We document that these negative effects are explained by the differential enrollment capacity of schools, as well as by the deterioration of key school inputs.