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Did the 2006 covenants reduce school dropout in the Netherlands?


  • Marc van der Steeg

    (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)

  • Roel van Elk

    () (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)

  • Dinand Webbink

    (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)


Early school-leaving is considered to be one of the major problems in Dutch education. In order to reduce the number of dropouts in the school year 2006-2007 the Dutch government has offered a financial incentive scheme to 14 out of 39 regions. This scheme provides a reward of 2000 euro per school dropout less in 2006-07. The target of the scheme was a reduction of the total number of school dropouts by at least 10 percent in one year. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of this school dropout policy by comparing the change in school dropout in these 14 regions with the change in the remaining 25 regions before and after the introduction of the policy. We observe a modest decline in the probability of dropping out in the 14 covenants regions. However, the decline in the non-covenant regions was equally large. We therefore find no significant effect on the probability of dropping out in the post-covenant year. In both regions, the number of dropouts has fallen by 3 percent in the year after the covenants. This nationwide decline can be largely assigned to changes in the student populations among the pre- and post-covenant year. The covenants also gave a reward to regions for a successful reintegration of dropouts in order to reduce school dropout in that way. However, estimates for the effect on the re-enrolment of previous dropouts are statistically insignificant as well. We conclude that 2006 covenant policy has not been effective in reducing early school-leaving.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc van der Steeg & Roel van Elk & Dinand Webbink, 2008. "Did the 2006 covenants reduce school dropout in the Netherlands?," CPB Document 177, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpb:docmnt:177

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2004. "Evaluating the Effect of Tax Deductions on Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 461-488, April.
    2. Edwin Leuven & Mikael Lindahl & Hessel Oosterbeek & Dinand Webbink, 2007. "The Effect of Extra Funding for Disadvantaged Pupils on Achievement," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(4), pages 721-736, November.
    3. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 155-189, March.
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    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • C99 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Other

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