April 4, 2013

The effects of a special program for multi-problem school dropouts on educational enrolment, employment and criminal behaviour; Evidence from a field experiment

This paper evaluates the effects of a special program designed to increase school enrolment and employment among multi-problem youths. Treated youths are guided by personal coaches and receive a comprehensive treatment of educational, work, and health services.
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We investigate the impact of the program by implementing a specific assignment rule such that treatment status depends in a deterministic way on an individual’s application date.

We find evidence that assignment to the program increases criminal activity compared to standard intervention, especially among the subpopulation of youths who were suspected of a crime at the time of entry. Peer effects caused by grouping at-risk youths together may explain the adverse impact on criminal behaviour. We find statistically insignificant effects on school enrolment and employment. 

Keywords: disadvantaged youths, school dropout, criminal behaviour, program evaluation


Marc van der Steeg
Dinand Webbink

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