The Effect of High School Matriculation Awards: Evidence from Randomized Trials

42 Pages Posted: 8 May 2003

See all articles by Joshua D. Angrist

Joshua D. Angrist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Victor Lavy

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2002

Abstract

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 programme selected individual students within schools for treatment, with treatment status determined by previous test scores and a partially randomized cut-off for low socioeconomic status. In a larger follow-up programme, 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.

Keywords: Achivement awards, school matriculation, randomized trials

JEL Classification: I21, I28, J13, J24

Suggested Citation

Angrist, Joshua and Lavy, Victor, The Effect of High School Matriculation Awards: Evidence from Randomized Trials (March 2002). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 3827. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=405160

Joshua Angrist (Contact Author)

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Victor Lavy

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