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Enforcing Compulsory Schooling through Credible Coercion: Lessons from Australia's Northern Territory Intervention

Moshe Justman and Kyle Peyton

The Economic Record, 2018, vol. 94, issue 306, 223-238

Abstract: Australia's Northern Territory Emergency Response and subsequent School Enrolment and Attendance Measure (SEAM) credibly threatened to remove welfare benefits from Indigenous families if their children failed to attend school regularly. A difference‐in‐difference analysis of participation rates in the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy shows a substantial increase in participation rates the year after SEAM was implemented. However, administrators rarely carried out the threatened sanctions, and these initial gains largely dissipated in subsequent years. This unique episode illustrates the limited scope for promoting Indigenous school participation through conditional cash penalties.

Date: 2018
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