Giving Kids a Head Start: The Impact and Mechanisms of Early Commitment of Financial Aid on Poor Students in Rural China

48 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2017

See all articles by Hongmei Yi

Hongmei Yi

School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences, Peking University

Yingquan Song

Peking University

Chengfang Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

Xiaoting Huang

Peking University

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy

YunLi Bai

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

Baoping Ren

School of Economics and Management

Yaojiang Shi

Shaanxi Normal University

Prashant Kumar Loyalka

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

James Chu

Stanford University, Department of Sociology, Students; Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies

Date Written: September 2014

Abstract

We estimate the impact of two early commitment of financial aid (ECFA) programs—near the start and one near the end of junior high school (seven than ninth grades, respectively)—on the out comes of poor, rural junior high students in China. Our results demonstrate that neither of the ECFA programs has a substantive effect. We find that the ninth-grade program had at most only a small (and likely negligible) effect on matriculation to high school. The seventh-grade program had no effect on either dropout rates during junior high school or on educational performance as measured by a standardized math test. The seventh-grade program did increase the plans of students to attend high school by 15%. In examining why ECFA was not able to motivate significant behavioral changes for ninth graders, we argue that the competitiveness of the education system successfully screened out poorer performing students and promoted better performing students. Thus by the ninth grade, the remaining students were already committed to going to high school regardless of ECFA support. In regards to the results of the seventh grade program, we show how seventh graders appear to be engaged in wishful thinking (they appear to change plans without reference to whether their plans are realistic).

Keywords: ECFA, Poor, Dropout, Academic performance, Plans after junior high

Suggested Citation

Yi, Hongmei and Song, Yingquan and Liu, Chengfang and Huang, Xiaoting and Zhang, Linxiu and Bai, YunLi and Ren, Baoping and Shi, Yaojiang and Loyalka, Prashant and Chu, James and Rozelle, Scott, Giving Kids a Head Start: The Impact and Mechanisms of Early Commitment of Financial Aid on Poor Students in Rural China (September 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2937681 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2937681

Hongmei Yi (Contact Author)

School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences, Peking University ( email )

Room 412, Wangkezhen Buidling, Peking Unviersity
Beijing, 100871
China

Yingquan Song

Peking University ( email )

No. 38 Xueyuan Road
Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

Chengfang Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) ( email )

52 Sanlihe Rd.
Datun Road, Anwai
Beijing, Xicheng District 100864
China

Xiaoting Huang

Peking University ( email )

No. 38 Xueyuan Road
Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

Linxiu Zhang

Chinese Academy of Sciences - Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy ( email )

Anwai, Beijing, 100101
China

YunLi Bai

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) ( email )

52 Sanlihe Rd.
Datun Road, Anwai
Beijing, Xicheng District 100864
China

Baoping Ren

School of Economics and Management ( email )

229 Taibai North Rd
Beilin
Xian, Shaanxi
China

Yaojiang Shi

Shaanxi Normal University ( email )

Chang'an Chang'an District
199 South Road
Xi'an, Shaanxi Province 710062
China

Prashant Loyalka

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

James Chu

Stanford University, Department of Sociology, Students ( email )

Stanford
United States

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Scott Rozelle

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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