The Effects of Differential Exposure to COVID-19 on Educational Outcomes in Guatemala


  • CEDLAS Working Papers 


  • This paper studies the effects of differential exposure to COVID-19 on educational outcomes in Guatemala. The government adopted a warning index (ranging from 0 to 10) to classify municipalities by infection rates in 2020, which was then used by the Ministry of Education in 2021 to establish a “stoplight” system for in-person instruction. Using administrative panel data for all students in Guatemala, the study employs a difference-in-differences strategy that leverages municipal differences over time in the warning index to estimate the effects of the pandemic on dropout, promotion, and school switching. The results show that municipalities with a higher warning index had significantly larger dropout, lower promotion rates, and a greater share of students switching from private to public schools. These effects were more pronounced during the first year of the pandemic. The findings show differential effects by the level of instruction, with greater losses for younger children in initial and primary education. The results are robust to specification choice, multiple hypothesis adjustments, and placebo experiments, suggesting that the pandemic has had heterogeneous consequences.

fecha de publicación

  • 2023

Líneas de investigación

  • COVID-19
  • Education
  • dropout
  • government policy
  • promotion
  • school switching


  • 313