IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/ecoedu/v30y2011i5p924-937.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Conditional cash penalties in education: Evidence from the Learnfare experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Dee, Thomas S.

Abstract

Wisconsin's influential Learnfare initiative is a conditional cash penalty program that sanctions a family's welfare grant when covered teens fail to meet school attendance targets. In the presence of reference-dependent preferences, Learnfare provides uniquely powerful financial incentives for student performance. However, a 10-county random-assignment evaluation suggested that Learnfare had no sustained effects on school enrollment and attendance. This study evaluates the data from this randomized field experiment. In Milwaukee County, the Learnfare procedures were poorly implemented and the random-assignment process failed to produce balanced baseline traits. However, in the nine remaining counties, Learnfare increased school enrollment by 3.5 percent (effect size = 0.08) and attendance by 4.5 percent (effect size = 0.10). These results suggest that well-designed financial incentives may be an effective mechanism for improving the school persistence of at-risk students at scale.

Suggested Citation

  • Dee, Thomas S., 2011. "Conditional cash penalties in education: Evidence from the Learnfare experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 924-937, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:30:y:2011:i:5:p:924-937
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272775711000975
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Bas van der Klaauw, 2010. "The Effect of Financial Rewards on Students' Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(6), pages 1243-1265, December.
    2. Thomas S. Dee, 2004. "Teachers, Race, and Student Achievement in a Randomized Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 195-210, February.
    3. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532.
    4. Michael Wiseman, 1996. "State strategies for welfare reform: The Wisconsin story," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 515-546.
    5. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
    6. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    7. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2009. "Incentives to Learn," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 437-456.
    8. Skoufias, Emmanuel & McClafferty, Bonnie, 2001. "Is PROGRESA working?," FCND discussion papers 118, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Philip Oreopoulos & Daniel Lang & Joshua Angrist, 2009. "Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 136-163, January.
    10. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2010. "Financial Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from Randomized Trials," NBER Working Papers 15898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8769, June.
    12. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
    13. Sudhanshu Handa & Benjamin Davis, 2006. "The Experience of Conditional Cash Transfers in Latin America and the Caribbean," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 24(5), pages 513-536, September.
    14. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-1160, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Joshua Angrist & Philip Oreopoulos & Tyler Williams, 2014. "When Opportunity Knocks, Who Answers?: New Evidence on College Achievement Awards," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(3), pages 572-610.
    2. Robert Metcalfe & Simon Burgess and Steven Proud, 2011. "Student effort and educational attainment: Using the England football team to identify the education production function," Economics Series Working Papers 586, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Aslund, Olof & Engdahl, Mattias, 2012. "The Value of Earning for Learning: Performance Bonuses in Immigrant Language Training," IZA Discussion Papers 7118, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Lester Lusher, 2016. "College Better: Parimutuel Betting Markets as a Commitment Device and Monetary Incentive," Natural Field Experiments 00561, The Field Experiments Website.
    5. Philip J. Cook & Jens Ludwig, 2010. "Economical Crime Control," NBER Working Papers 16513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Márton Medgyesi & Temesváry, Z., 2013. "GINI DP 84: Conditional cash transfers in high- income OECD countries and their effects on human capital accumulation," GINI Discussion Papers 84, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    7. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2010. "Racial Inequality in the 21st Century: The Declining Significance of Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 16256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Rashmi Barua & Marian Vidal-Fernandez, 2014. "No Pass No Drive: Education and Allocation of Time," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 399-431.
    9. Martorell, Paco & Miller, Trey & Santibañez, Lucrecia & Augustine, Catherine H., 2016. "Can incentives for parents and students change educational inputs? Experimental evidence from summer school," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 113-126.
    10. Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel & Gisselquist, Rachel M., 2013. "What Can Experiments Tell Us About How to Improve Governance?," WIDER Working Paper Series 077, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    11. Uwe DUlleck & Juliana Silva-Goncalves & Benno Torgler, 2014. "Impact Evaluation of an Incentive Program on Educational Achievement of Indigenous Students," QuBE Working Papers 026, QUT Business School.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education Welfare Incentives Attainment Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:30:y:2011:i:5:p:924-937. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.