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Why Do College Going Interventions Work?

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  • Scott E. Carrell
  • Bruce Sacerdote

Abstract

We present evidence from a recent field experiment in college coaching/ mentoring. We find surprisingly large impacts on college attendance and persistence. We test several theories as to why a short lived intervention has large impacts on lifetime human capital investments. We do not find evidence that the treatment effect derives from simple behavioral mistakes or a lack of easily obtained information. Instead our mentoring program substitutes for the potentially expensive and often missing ingredient of skilled parental or teacher time and encouragement. Our positive effects are concentrated among students who do not rely on parental or teacher support for college applications and who are less extraverted. Our treatments that provide financial incentives or information alone do not appear to be effective. For women, assignment to our mentoring treatment yields a 15 percentage point increase in the college going rate while treatment on the treated estimates are 30 percentage points (against a control complier mean rate of 43 percent). We find much smaller treatment effects for men and the difference in treatment effects across genders is partially explained by the differential in self-reported labor market opportunities.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott E. Carrell & Bruce Sacerdote, 2013. "Why Do College Going Interventions Work?," NBER Working Papers 19031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19031
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:313-342 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Lundberg, Shelly, 2013. "Educational Inequality and the Returns to Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 7595, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    6. James J. Heckman & Stefano Mosso, 2014. "The Economics of Human Development and Social Mobility," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 689-733, August.
    7. Christopher Avery, 2013. "Evaluation of the College Possible Program: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial," NBER Working Papers 19562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    10. repec:bri:cmpowp:13/335 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Joshua Goodman & Michael Hurwitz & Jonathan Smith, "undated". "Access to Four-Year Public Colleges and Degree Completion," Working Paper 175226, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    12. Catia Batista & Francesco Cestari, 2016. "Migrant intentions to return: The role of migrant social networks," FEUNL Working Paper Series novaf:wp1602, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    13. 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.
    14. William N. Evans & Melissa S. Kearney & Brendan C. Perry & James X. Sullivan, 2017. "Increasing Community College Completion Rates among Low-Income Students: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluation of a Case Management Intervention," NBER Working Papers 24150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Joshua Hyman, 2018. "Nudges, College Enrollment, and College Persistence: Evidence From a Statewide Experiment in Michigan," Working papers 2018-10, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    16. Machado, Cecilia & Szerman, Christiane, 2016. "Centralized Admission and the Student-College Match," IZA Discussion Papers 10251, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Stenberg, Anders, 2013. "Does Expert Advice Improve Educational Choice?," IZA Discussion Papers 7649, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Tim Kautz & James J. Heckman & Ron Diris & Bas ter Weel & Lex Borghans, 2014. "Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success," NBER Working Papers 20749, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Philip Oreopoulos & Robert S. Brown & Adam M. Lavecchia, 2017. "Pathways to Education: An Integrated Approach to Helping At-Risk High School Students," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(4), pages 947-984.
    20. Amanda Pallais, 2013. "Small Differences that Matter: Mistakes in Applying to College," NBER Working Papers 19480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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