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The effectiveness of remedial courses in Italy: a fuzzy regression discontinuity design

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  • Maria Paola
  • Vincenzo Scoppa

Abstract

Skills are important for many social and economic outcomes. Whereas interventions during childhood are considered crucial to increase the skills of disadvantaged individuals, in this paper, we try to understand whether interventions which take place later in life can also be effective. With this aim, we evaluate the effects on student achievement of a number of remedial courses provided by an Italian university. We use a fuzzy regression discontinuity design to identify the causal effect of remedial courses relying on the fact that students were assigned to the treatment if their performance in a placement test was below a certain cutoff point. We deal with partial compliance by using the assignment rule as an instrumental variable for the effective attendance to remedial courses. From our analysis, it emerges that students attending the remedial courses whose results were just below the cutoff point acquire a higher number of credits than students whose results were just above the cutoff. We also find that remedial courses reduce the probability of dropping out from an academic career. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2014. "The effectiveness of remedial courses in Italy: a fuzzy regression discontinuity design," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(2), pages 365-386, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:27:y:2014:i:2:p:365-386
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-013-0466-8
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    1. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
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    5. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2005. "Targeted Remedial Education for Underperforming Teenagers: Costs and Benefits," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 839-874, October.
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    9. Juan Carlos Calcagno & Bridget Terry Long, 2008. "The Impact of Postsecondary Remediation Using a Regression Discontinuity Approach: Addressing Endogenous Sorting and Noncompliance," NBER Working Papers 14194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
    11. Austin Nichols, 2007. "Causal inference with observational data," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(4), pages 507-541, December.
    12. Mary Silles, 2011. "The effect of schooling on teenage childbearing: evidence using changes in compulsory education laws," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(2), pages 761-777, April.
    13. Johan N. M. Lagerlöf & Andrew J. Seltzer, 2009. "The Effects of Remedial Mathematics on the Learning of Economics: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 115-137, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Büchele, Stefan, 2020. "Should we trust math preparatory courses? An empirical analysis on the impact of students’ participation and attendance on short- and medium-term effects," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 154-167.
    2. Duchini, Emma, 2017. "Is college remedial education a worthy investment? New evidence from a sharp regression discontinuity design," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 36-53.
    3. Ignacio García-Pérez, J. & Hidalgo-Hidalgo, Marisa, 2017. "No student left behind? Evidence from the Programme for School Guidance in Spain," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 97-111.
    4. Almeida,Rita Kullberg & Bresolin,Antonio & Pugialli Da Silva Borges,Bruna & Mendes,Karen & Menezes Filho,Naercio, 2016. "Assessing the impacts of Mais Educacao on educational outcomes : evidence between 2007 and 2011," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7644, The World Bank.
    5. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2015. "Procrastination, academic success and the effectiveness of a remedial program," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 217-236.
    6. Erich Battistin & Antonio Schizzerotto, 2019. "Threat of grade retention, remedial education and student achievement: evidence from upper secondary schools in Italy," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 56(2), pages 651-678, February.
    7. Marianna Battaglia & Marisa Hidalgo-Hidalgo, 2020. "Non-Cognitive Skills and Remedial Education: Good News for Girls," Working Papers 20.10, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
    8. Stefan Buechele, 2018. "Bridging the Gap - how Effective are Remedial Math Courses in Germany?," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201825, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    9. Philip Verwimp, 2016. "Secondary School as a Contraceptive: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Burundi," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2016-19, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    10. Giorgio Di Pietro, 2014. "The Short-term Effectiveness of a Remedial Mathematics Course: Evidence from a UK University," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 82(3), pages 363-384, June.
    11. Stefan Buechele, 2019. "Should We Trust Math Preparatory Courses? An Empirical Analysis on the Impact of Students' Participation and Attendance on Short- and Medium-Term Effects," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201927, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    12. Victor Lavy & Assaf Kott & Genia Rachkovski, 2018. "Does Remedial Education at Late Childhood Pay Off After All? Long-Run Consequences for University Schooling, Labor Market Outcomes and Inter-Generational Mobility," NBER Working Papers 25332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. repec:cep:cverdp:005 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Battistin, Erich & Meroni, Elena Claudia, 2016. "Should we increase instruction time in low achieving schools? Evidence from Southern Italy," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 39-56.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Remedial courses; Tertiary education; Public policy; Fuzzy regression discontinuity design; Instrumental variables; I23; I21; I28; C26; J24;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • C26 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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