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Public university orientation for high-school students. A quasi-experimental assessment of the efficiency gains from nudging better career choices

Barbara Cavalletti, Matteo Corsi, Luca Persico and Enrico di Bella

Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 2021, vol. 73, issue C

Abstract: We adopt a quasi-experimental approach to measure the causal effect, on first-year students in bachelor-level courses at the Department of Economics and Business Studies of the University of Genoa, Italy, of having been treated to a recently activated orientation program when they were high school seniors. Improvements are evaluated at the end of the first academic year in terms of grade point average (GPA), inactivity (failing to pass even a single exam) and number of successfully completed exams. Treatment effects on GPA are estimated both for the overall treatment group and for subsamples consisting of treated students with high and with low high school exit grades. After performing several sensitivity checks, a sizeable treatment effect is confirmed both in terms of inactivity and in terms of average GPA. No clear effect was found on the number of exams. Effects on GPA are considerably stronger on students with lower high school exit grades.

Keywords: Education policy; Public higher education; Orientation; Nudging; Matching techniques (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.seps.2020.100945

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