Increasing College Going by Incentivizing Savings: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Italy

Journal Article

Increasing College Going by Incentivizing Savings: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Italy

Abstract

We estimate the impact of a matched savings account program on high school students’ college enrollment and persistence through a randomized controlled trial carried out in Italy. The tested program (Percorsi) provided low‐income high school students with a 4:1 match rate for savings dedicated to higher education expenditures and required that they attended financial education classes. The program increased rates of enrollment and persistence in university by about nine percentage points. Effects were even larger for vocational school students, who have poorer social backgrounds and lower academic preparation. Incentivized savings programs have potential to reduce social disparities in higher education participation, though the lower saving capacity of poorer households can generate regressivity in program design.

External Link:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/pam.22260

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