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Are we wasting public money? No! The effects of grants on Italian university students’ performances

  • Tommaso Agasisti

    ()

    (Politecnico di Milano)

  • Samuele Murtinu

    ()

    (Politecnico di Milano)

In this paper, we estimate the effect of receiving a financial aid for a cohort of students who enrolled at Politecnico di Milano (Italy) in the year 2007/08, through a Propensity Score Matching approach. Using administrative data about these students for four years, we were able to evaluate the impact of the financial aid on several dimensions of academic performance: formative credits obtained after one year, dropout probability in the first and second year, graduation in the legal duration of the course, and graduation after four years. Overall, we find a positive and statistically significant effect of the grant; this finding is stable across several robustness checks. Exploring the heterogeneity of this effect, we demonstrate that this latter is higher for immigrants, Italians who moved from another region for studying, and students attending an Engineering course. We also find evidence that unobservable factors (such as students’ own intrinsic academic motivation) account for an important part of the estimated impact of the financial aid.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2013/33.

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Length: 64 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2013/6/doc2013-33
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  1. Nicola Sciclone & Gianni Aristelli & Carla Rampichini, 2001. "La valutazione di efficacia delle borse di studio in Toscana," ECONOMIA PUBBLICA, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2001(3).
  2. Fabrizia Mealli & Carla Rampichini, 2012. "Evaluating the effects of university grants by using regression discontinuity designs," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 175(3), pages 775-798, 07.
  3. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity score matching methods for non-experimental causal studies," Discussion Papers 0102-14, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  4. Checchi, Daniele & Fiorio, Carlo V. & Leonardi, Marco, 2013. "Intergenerational persistence of educational attainment in Italy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 229-232.
  5. Glocker, Daniela, 2011. "The effect of student aid on the duration of study," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 177-190, February.
  6. Federico Cingano & Piero Cipollone, 2007. "University drop-out. The case of Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 626, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  7. Bratti, Massimiliano & Checchi, Daniele & de Blasio, Guido, 2008. "Does the Expansion of Higher Education Increase the Equality of Educational Opportunities? Evidence from Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 3361, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Leuven, Edwin & Oosterbeek, Hessel & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2003. "The Effect of Financial Rewards on Students' Achievements: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 3921, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Helena Skyt Nielsen & Torben Sørensen & Christopher Taber, 2008. "Estimating the Effect of Student Aid on College Enrollment: Evidence from a Government Grant Policy Reform," Economics Working Papers 2008-14, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  10. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Bas van der Klaauw, 2004. "The e ect of financial rewards on students achievement: Evidence from a randomized experiment," HEW 0410002, EconWPA.
  11. Checchi, Daniele & Ichino, Andrea & Rustichini, Aldo, 1999. "More equal but less mobile?: Education financing and intergenerational mobility in Italy and in the US," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 351-393, December.
  12. Jacob Arendt, 2013. "The effect of public financial aid on dropout from and completion of university education: evidence from a student grant reform," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 1545-1562, June.
  13. Michèle Belot & Erik Canton & Dinand Webbink, 2007. "Does reducing student support affect scholastic performance? Evidence from a Dutch reform," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 261-275, May.
  14. Vignoles Anna F & Powdthavee Nattavudh, 2009. "The Socioeconomic Gap in University Dropouts," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-36, April.
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