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

  • Rodríguez-Planas, Núria

    ()

    (Queens College, CUNY)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6770.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6770
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  1. 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.
  2. Sander, William, 1995. "Schooling and Quitting Smoking," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 191-99, February.
  3. Dynarski, Susan, 2005. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," Working Paper Series rwp05-050, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. James J. Heckman, 1999. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 7288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Franque Grimard & Daniel Parent, 2006. "Education And Smoking: Were Vietnam War Draft Avoiders Also More Likely To Avoid Smoking?," Departmental Working Papers 2006-05, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  6. Kenkel, Donald S, 1993. "Drinking, Driving, and Deterrence: The Effectiveness and Social Costs of Alternative Policies," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 877-913, October.
  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.
  9. Sander, William, 1995. "Schooling and smoking," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 23-33, March.
  10. de Walque, Damien, 2007. "Does education affect smoking behaviors?: Evidence using the Vietnam draft as an instrument for college education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 877-895, September.
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