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Achievement awards for high school matriculation: Evidence from randomized trials

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  • Joshua Angrist
  • Victor Lavy

Abstract

In Israel, as in many other countries, a high school matriculation certificate is required by universities and some jobs. In spite of the certificate's value, Israeli society is marked by vast differences in matriculation rates by region and socioeconomic status. We attempted to increase the likelihood of matriculation among low-achieving students by offering substantial cash incentives in two demonstration programs. As a theoretical matter, cash incentives may be helpful if low-achieving students reduce investment in schooling because of high discount rates, part-time work, or face peer pressure not to study. A small pilot program selected individual students within schools for treatment, with treatment status determined by previous test scores and a partially randomized cutoff for low socioeconomic status. In a larger follow-up program, entire schools were randomly selected for treatment and the program operated with the cooperation of principals and teachers. The results suggest the Achievement Awards program that randomized treatment at the school level raised matriculation rates, while the student-based program did not.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Natural Field Experiments with number 00202.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00202

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  2. Michael Baker & Nicole M. Fortin, 2000. "Occupational Gender Composition and Wages in Canada: 1987-1988," Working Papers baker-00-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
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  8. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  9. Augurzky, Boris & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2001. "The Evaluation of Community-Based Interventions: A Monte Carlo Study," IZA Discussion Papers 270, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Dropout and Enrollment Trends in the Postwar Period: What Went Wrong in the 1970s?," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 439-482 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Victor Lavy, 2004. "Do Gender Stereotypes Reduce Girls' Human Capital Outcomes? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 10678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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