Joshua D Angrist, Victor Lavy
Cited by*: 1 Downloads*: 40

In Israel, as in many other countries, a high school matriculation certificate is required by universities and some jobs. In spite of the certificate's value, Israeli society is marked by vast differences in matriculation rates by region and socioeconomic status. We attempted to increase the likelihood of matriculation among low-achieving students by offering substantial cash incentives in two demonstration programs. As a theoretical matter, cash incentives may be helpful if low-achieving students reduce investment in schooling because of high discount rates, part-time work, or face peer pressure not to study. A small pilot program selected individual students within schools for treatment, with treatment status determined by previous test scores and a partially randomized cutoff for low socioeconomic status. In a larger follow-up program, entire schools were randomly selected for treatment and the program operated with the cooperation of principals and teachers. The results suggest the Achievement Awards program that randomized treatment at the school level raised matriculation rates, while the student-based program did not.
Joshua D Angrist, Eric Bettinger, Michael Kremer
Cited by*: 2 Downloads*: 20

Colombia's PACES program provided over 125,000 poor children with vouchers that covered half the cost of private secondary school. The vouchers were renewable annually conditional on adequate academic progress. Since many vouchers were assigned by lottery, program effects can reliably be assessed by comparing lottery winners and losers. Estimates using administrative records suggest the PACES program increased secondary school completion rates by 15-20 percent. Correcting for the greater percentage of lottery winners taking college admissions tests, the program increased test scores by two-tenths of a standard deviation in the distribution of potential test scores. Boys, who have lower scores than girls in this population, show larger test score gains, especially in math.
Joshua D Angrist, Eric Bettinger, Erik Bloom, Elizabeth King, Michael Kremer
Cited by*: 124 Downloads*: 50

Colombia's PACES program provided over 125,000 pupils from poor neighborhoods with vouchers that covered approximately half the cost of private secondary school. Since many vouchers were allocated by lottery, we use differences in outcomes between lottery winners and losers to assess program effects. Three years into the program, lottery winners were 15 percentage points more likely to have attended private school, had completed .1 more years of schooling, and were about 10 percentage points more likely to have finished 8 th grade, primarily because they were less likely to repeat grades. The program did not significantly affect dropout rates. Lottery winners scored .2 standard deviations higher on standardized tests. There is some evidence that winners worked less than losers and were less likely to marry or cohabit as teenagers. On average, lottery winners increased their educational expenditure by about 70% of the value of the voucher. Since winners also worked less, they devoted more total resources to education. Compared to an equivalent expansion of the public education system, the voucher program increased annual government educational expenditure by about $24 per winner. But the costs to the government and to participants were probably much less than the increase in winners' earnings due to greater educational attainment.
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