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Getting Parents Involved: A Field Experiment in Deprived Schools


  • Avvisati, Francesco
  • Gurgand, Marc
  • Guyon, Nina
  • Maurin, Eric


This paper presents a randomized field experiment conducted in a set of French middle schools located in a deprived educational district near Paris. Parents in test groups were invited to participate in a simple program of training sessions on how to get better involved in their children’s education. At the end of the school-year, we find that treated families effectively increased their school- and home-based involvement activities. Children of families who were directly targeted by the program developed more positive behavior and attitudes in school, and had less literacy problems. Importantly, for all behavioral outcomes we find large spillover effects of the program on classmates of treated families. This experiment proves that schools are able to increase parents' awareness and that parental inputs have strong effects on pupil behavior. Our results on spillovers demonstrate that similar initiatives can be effective even in case of low parental take-up of the program.

Suggested Citation

  • Avvisati, Francesco & Gurgand, Marc & Guyon, Nina & Maurin, Eric, 2010. "Getting Parents Involved: A Field Experiment in Deprived Schools," CEPR Discussion Papers 8020, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8020

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School, and Racial Test Score Gaps," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-136.
    2. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Rukmini Banerji & Esther Duflo & Rachel Glennerster & Stuti Khemani, 2010. "Pitfalls of Participatory Programs: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Education in India," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 1-30, February.
    3. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Martina Björkman & Jakob Svensson, 2009. "Power to the People: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment on Community-Based Monitoring in Uganda," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 735-769.
    5. Welsch David M. & Zimmer David M., 2008. "After-School Supervision and Children's Cognitive Achievement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-27, December.
    6. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
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    Cited by:

    1. Terrier, Camille, 2016. "Boys Lag Behind: How Teachers' Gender Biases Affect Student Achievement," IZA Discussion Papers 10343, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Nina Guyon & Elise Huillery, 2016. "Biased Aspirations and Social Inequality at School: Evidence from French Teenagers," Sciences Po publications 44, Sciences Po.
    3. Goux, Dominique & Gurgand, Marc & Maurin, Eric, 2017. "Reading enjoyment and reading skills: Lessons from an experiment with first grade children," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 17-25.
    4. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    5. repec:eee:cysrev:v:85:y:2018:i:c:p:194-201 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Peters, Jörg & Langbein, Jörg & Roberts, Gareth, 2016. "Policy evaluation, randomized controlled trials, and external validity—A systematic review," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 51-54.
    7. Wagner, Valentin & Riener, Gerhard, 2015. "Peers or parents? On non-monetary incentives in schools," DICE Discussion Papers 203, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    8. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2016. "The Production of Human Capital in Developed Countries: Evidence from 196 Randomized Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 22130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. repec:eee:labeco:v:45:y:2017:i:c:p:26-39 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Belot, Michèle & James, Jonathan, 2016. "Partner selection into policy relevant field experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 31-56.
    11. Benjamin A. Olken, 2015. "Promises and Perils of Pre-analysis Plans," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 61-80, Summer.
    12. Juanna Schrøter Joensen & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 2017. "Spillovers in Education Choice," Working Papers id:12272, eSocialSciences.
    13. Dean Karlan & Leigh Linden, 2014. "Loose Knots: Strong versus Weak Commitments to Save for Education in Uganda," Working Papers 1037, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    14. Asadul Islam, 2017. "Parental Involvement in Education: Evidence from Field Experiments in Developing Countries," Monash Economics Working Papers 02-17, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    15. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2017. "Management and Student Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 23437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Adam M. Lavecchia & Heidi Liu & Philip Oreopoulos, 2014. "Behavioral Economics of Education: Progress and Possibilities," NBER Working Papers 20609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Norris, Jonathan, 2017. "Family and Peer Social Identity Effects on Schooling Attitudes and Performance," UNCG Economics Working Papers 17-1, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics.
    18. Uwe Dulleck & Juliana Silva-Goncalves & Benno Torgler, 2016. "Evaluation of an Incentive Program on Educational Achievement of Indigenous Students," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 92(298), pages 329-347, September.
    19. 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.
    20. Goux, Dominique & Gurgand, Marc & Maurin, Eric, 2014. "Adjusting Your Dreams? The Effect of School and Peers on Dropout Behaviour," IZA Discussion Papers 7948, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    21. Stéphane Carcillo & Rodrigo Fernandez & Sebastian Königs & Andreea Minea, 2015. "NEET Youth in the Aftermath of the Crisis," Sciences Po publications 164, Sciences Po.
    22. Helena Nielsen & Juanna Joensen, 2015. "Peer Effects in Math and Science," 2015 Meeting Papers 1343, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    23. Joensen, Juanna Schrøter & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2018. "Spillovers in education choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 158-183.
    24. Mette Trier Damgaard & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 2017. "Nudging in education," Economics Working Papers 2017-05, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    25. Florence Neymotin, 2014. "How Parental Involvement Affects Childhood Behavioral Outcomes," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(4), pages 433-451, December.

    More about this item


    Child support; Classroom Peer-Effects; Cluster Randomized Trial; Parental Involvement;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy


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