In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the governments of most countries ordered the closure of schools, potentially exacerbating existing learning gaps. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of an intervention implemented in Italian middle schools that provides free individual tutoring online to disadvantaged students during lock-down. Tutors are university students who volunteer for 3 to 6 hours per week. They were randomly assigned to middle school students, from a list of potential beneficiaries compiled by school principals. Using original survey data collected from students, parents, teachers and tutors, we find that the program substantially increased students’ academic performance (by 0.26 SD on average) and that it significantly improved their socio-emotional skills, aspirations, and psychological well-being. Effects are stronger for children from lower socioeconomic status and, in the case of psychological well-being, for immigrant children.
One of the biggest challenges that countries face today is the very unequal distributions of opportunities, resources, income and wealth across people. Inclusive prosperity – whereby many people from different backgrounds can benefit from economic growth, new technologies, and the fruits of globalization – remains elusive. To address these issues, societies face choices among many different policies and institutional arrangements to try to ensure a proper supply of productive jobs and activities, as well as access to education, financial means, and other endowments that prepare individuals for their participation in the economy. In this paper we offer a simple, organizing framework to think about policies for inclusive prosperity. We provide a comprehensive taxonomy of policies, distinguishing among the types of inequality they address and the stages of the economy where the intervention takes place. The taxonomy clarifies the differences among contending approaches to equity and inclusion and can help analysts assess the impacts and implications of different policies and identify potential gaps.
If individuals tend to behave like their peers, is it because of conformity, that is, the preference of people to align behavior with the behavior of their peers; homophily, that is, the tendency of people to bond with similar others; or both? We address this question in the context of an ethical dilemma. Using a peer effect model allowing for homophily, we designed a real-effort laboratory experiment in which individuals could misreport their performance to earn more. Our results reveal a preference for conformity and for homophily in the selection of peers, but only among participants who were cheating in isolation. The size of peer effects is similar when identical peers were randomly assigned and when they were selected by individuals. We thus jointly reject the presence of a self-selection bias in the peer effect estimates and of a link strength effect
Estimating the impact of child health investments on adult living standards entails multiple methodological challenges, including the lack of experimental variation in health status, an inability to track individuals over time, and accurately measuring living standards and productivity in low-income settings. This study exploits a randomized school health intervention that provided deworming treatment to Kenyan children, and uses longitudinal data to estimate impacts on economic outcomes up to 20 y later. The effective respondent tracking rate was 84%. Individuals who received two to three additional years of childhood deworming experienced a 14% gain in consumption expenditures and 13% increase in hourly earnings. There are also shifts in sectors of residence and employment: treatment group individuals are 9% more likely to live in urban areas, and experience a 9% increase in nonagricultural work hours. Most effects are concentrated among males and older individuals. The observed consumption and earnings benefits, together with deworming’s low cost when distributed at scale, imply that a conservative estimate of its annualized social internal rate of return is 37%, a high return by any standard.
Using daily data on vaccinations, disease spread, and measures of social interaction from Google Mobility reports aggregated at the country level for 112 countries, we present estimates of behavioral responses to the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. We first estimate correlates of the timing and intensity of the vaccination rollout, finding that countries which vaccinated more of their population earlier strongly tended to be richer, whereas measures of the state of pandemic or its death toll up to the time of the initial vaccine rollout had little predictive ability after controlling for income. Estimates of models of social distancing and disease spread suggest that countries which vaccinated more quickly also experienced decreases in some measures of social distancing, yet also lower incidence of disease, and in these countries policy makers relaxed social distancing measures relative to countries which rolled out vaccinations more slowly
Against a background of increasing violence against non-natives, we estimate the effect of hate crime on refugees’ mental health in Germany. For this purpose, we combine two datasets: administrative records on xenophobic crime against refugee shelters by the Federal Criminal Office and the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees. We apply a regression discontinuity design in time to estimate the effect of interest. Our results indicate that hate crime has a substantial negative effect on several mental health indicators, including the Mental Component Summary score and the Patient Health Questionnaire-4 score. The effects are stronger for refugees with closer geographic proximity to the focal hate crime and refugees with low country-speciﬁc human capital. While the estimated effect is only transitory, we argue that negative mental health shocks during the critical period after arrival have important long-term consequences.
Mental health, hate crime, migration, refugees, human capital