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School and Drugs: Closing the Gap – Evidence from a Randomized Trial in the US

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  • Rodríguez-Planas, Núria

    () (Queens College, CUNY)

Abstract

We present evidence on how The Quantum Opportunity Program (QOP hereafter) worked in the US. While the program was regarded as successful in the short-term, in the long-run its educational results were modest and its effects on risky behaviors detrimental. Exploiting control group's self-reported drug use while in school, we evaluate whether the program worked best among those with high-predicted risk of problem behavior. We find QOP to be extremely successful among high-risk youths as it managed to curb their risky behaviors during high-school and, by doing so, it persistently improved high-school graduation by 20 percent and college enrollment by 28 percent. In contrast, QOP was unsuccessful among youths in the bottom-half of the risk distribution as it increased their engagement in risky behaviors while in high-school. Negative peer effects are possibly an explanation behind these results. Finally, negative peer effects also seem to explain the longer-run detrimental effects of QOP on risky behaviors.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodríguez-Planas, Núria, 2012. "School and Drugs: Closing the Gap – Evidence from a Randomized Trial in the US," IZA Discussion Papers 6770, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6770
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James Heckman, 2011. "Policies to foster human capital," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 73-137.
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    3. Sander, William, 1995. "Schooling and smoking," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 23-33, March.
    4. Grimard, Franque & Parent, Daniel, 2007. "Education and smoking: Were Vietnam war draft avoiders also more likely to avoid smoking?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 896-926, September.
    5. Stephen Machin & Sandra McNally & Costas Meghir, 2004. "Improving Pupil Performance in English Secondary Schools: Excellence in Cities," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 396-405, 04/05.
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    7. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2005. "Targeted Remedial Education for Underperforming Teenagers: Costs and Benefits," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 839-874, October.
    8. Myles Maxfield & Laura Castner & Vida Maralani & Mary Vencill, 2003. "The Quantum Opportunity Program Demonstration: Implementation Findings," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 454e8a1ad16943249a9f9577d, Mathematica Policy Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alberto Abadie & Matthew M. Chingos & Martin R. West, 2013. "Endogenous Stratification in Randomized Experiments," NBER Working Papers 19742, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    mentoring programs; peer effects; risky behaviors; educational programs; randomized trials;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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