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The Effect of High School Matriculation Awards: Evidence from Randomized Trials


  • Angrist, Joshua
  • Lavy, Victor


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 programme selected individual students within schools for treatment, with treatment status determined by previous test scores and a partially randomized cut-off for low socioeconomic status. In a larger follow-up programme, 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Angrist, Joshua & Lavy, Victor, 2002. "The Effect of High School Matriculation Awards: Evidence from Randomized Trials," CEPR Discussion Papers 3827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3827

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
    2. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2002. "Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1535-1558, December.
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    8. Joshua D. Angrist & Jinyong Hahn, 1999. "When to Control for Covariates? Panel-Asymptotic Results for Estimates of Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item


    achivement awards; randomized trials; school matriculation;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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