Do High Aspirations Lead to Better Outcomes? Evidence from a Longitudinal Survey of Adolescents in Peru

Produced by: 
University of Chicago
Available from: 
January 2021
Paper author(s): 
Carol Graham
Julia Ruiz Pozuelo
Topic: 
Education - Health
Year: 
2021

Using a novel panel survey of relatively poor urban Peruvian adolescents, we explore the link between three type of aspirations (educational, occupational, and aspirations to migrate) and individual’s propensity to invest in the future. We found remarkably high education aspirations, even among relatively poor individuals and adolescents that were exposed to negative shocks in the past, suggesting high levels of resilience among our sample. We also find that aspirations are quite stable over time, and positively associated with personality traits such as self-efficacy, life satisfaction, and locus of control, which helps explain their persistence over time. Finally, we find that high aspirations are strongly associated with positive future outcomes such as higher investments in education and less engagement in risky behaviors such as unsafe sex and binge drinking.

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Research section: 
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