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Can Mentoring Alleviate Family Disadvantage in Adolescence? A Field Experiment to Improve Labor-Market Prospects

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  • Resnjanskij, Sven

    (CESifo)

  • Ruhose, Jens

    (University of Kiel)

  • Wiederhold, Simon

    (IWH Halle)

  • Woessmann, Ludger

    (University of Munich)

Abstract

We study a mentoring program that aims to improve the labor-market prospects of school- attending adolescents from disadvantaged families by offering them a university-student mentor. Our RCT investigates program effectiveness on three outcome dimensions that are highly predictive of adolescents' later labor-market success: math grades, patience/social skills, and labor-market orientation. For low-SES adolescents, the one-to-one mentoring increases a combined index of the outcomes by half a standard deviation after one year, with significant increases in each dimension. Part of the treatment effect is mediated by establishing mentors as attachment figures who provide guidance for the future. The mentoring is not effective for higher-SES adolescents. The results show that substituting lacking family support by other adults can help disadvantaged children at adolescent age.

Suggested Citation

  • Resnjanskij, Sven & Ruhose, Jens & Wiederhold, Simon & Woessmann, Ludger, 2021. "Can Mentoring Alleviate Family Disadvantage in Adolescence? A Field Experiment to Improve Labor-Market Prospects," IZA Discussion Papers 14097, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp14097
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    Cited by:

    1. Sven Resnjanskij & Jens Ruhose & Simon Wiederhold & Ludger Wößmann, 2021. "Mentoring Improves the Labor-Market Prospects of Highly Disadvantaged Adolescents," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 74(02), pages 31-38, February.
    2. Engel, Julia F. & Huber, Christoph & Nüß, Patrick, 2022. "Replication Report: How Do Beliefs About the Gender Wage Gap Affect the Demand for Public Policy?," I4R Discussion Paper Series 12, The Institute for Replication (I4R).
    3. Herrera, Carla & DuBois, David L. & Heubach, Janet & Grossman, Jean B., 2023. "Effects of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Community-Based Mentoring Program on social-emotional, behavioral, and academic outcomes of participating youth: A randomized controlled trial," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    4. Katharina Werner & Ludger Woessmann, 2021. "The Legacy of Covid-19 in Education," CESifo Working Paper Series 9358, CESifo.
    5. Clara Albrecht & Maria Hofbauer Pérez & Tanja Stitteneder, 2021. "Migration Monitor: The Importance of Gender-Specific Approaches for the Integration of Female Refugees," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 74(04), pages 63-69, April.
    6. Clara Albrecht & Maria Hofbauer Pérez & Tanja Stitteneder, 2021. "The Integration Challenges of Female Refugees and Migrants: Where Do We Stand?," CESifo Forum, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 22(02), pages 39-46, March.
    7. Athey, Susan & Palikot, Emil, 2022. "Effective and Scalable Programs to Facilitate Labor Market Transitions for Women in Technology," Research Papers 4063, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    8. Florian Schoner & Lukas Mergele & Larissa Zierow, 2021. "Grading Student Behavior," CESifo Working Paper Series 9275, CESifo.
    9. Stefania Bortolotti & Annalisa Loviglio, 2024. "The Impact of a Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program on University Choices and Performance," Working Papers wp1192, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    10. Hermes, Henning & Krauß, Marina & Lergetporer, Philipp & Peter, Frauke & Wiederhold, Simon, 2022. "Early Child Care and Labor Supply of Lower-SES Mothers: A Randomized Controlled Trial," IZA Discussion Papers 15814, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Hermes, Henning & Lergetporer, Philipp & Peter, Frauke & Wiederhold, Simon, 2021. "Behavioral Barriers and the Socioeconomic Gap in Child Care Enrollment," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 16/2021, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    12. Fabian J. Baier & Paul J.J. Welfens & Tobias Zander, 2021. "Employment and Job Perspectives for Female Refugees in Germany: Analysis and Policy Implications from a Local Survey Study," EIIW Discussion paper disbei308, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
    13. Henning Hermes & Philipp Lergetporer & Frauke Peter & Simon Wiederhold, 2021. "Application Barriers and the Socioeconomic Gap in Child Care Enrollment," CESifo Working Paper Series 9282, CESifo.
    14. Verónica Cabezas & José Ignacio Cuesta & Francisco Gallego, 2021. "Does Short-Term School Tutoring have Medium-Term Effects? Experimental Evidence from Chile," Documentos de Trabajo 565, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    15. Silvia Angerer & Jana Bolvashenkova & Daniela Glätzle-Rützler & Philipp Lergetporer & Matthias Sutter, 2021. "Children’s patience and school-track choices several years later: Linking experimental and field data," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2021_12, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    16. Ludger Wößmann, 2021. "Bildungsverluste durch Corona: Wie lassen sie sich aufholen?," Wirtschaftsdienst, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 101(3), pages 150-151, March.
    17. Yuehao Bai & Hongchang Guo & Azeem M. Shaikh & Max Tabord-Meehan, 2023. "Inference in Experiments with Matched Pairs and Imperfect Compliance," Papers 2307.13094, arXiv.org.
    18. Ludger Wößmann & Vera Freundl & Elisabeth Grewenig & Philipp Lergetporer & Katharina Werner & Larissa Zierow, 2021. "Education on Lockdown Again: How Did Schoolchildren Spend Their Time during the Early 2021 School Closures?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 74(05), pages 36-52, May.
    19. Silvan Has & Jake Anders & John Jerrim & Nikki Shure, 2021. "Educational expectations of UK teenagers and the role of socio-economic status and economic preferences," CEPEO Working Paper Series 21-11, UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, revised Dec 2021.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    mentoring; disadvantaged youths; adolescence; school performance; patience; social skills; labor-market orientation; field experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education

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