School dropout is an important social and economic problem. This paper investigates the effect of an intensive coaching program aimed at reducing school dropout rates among students aged 16-20. Students received support and guidance with their study activities, personal problems and internships in firms. The coaching program lasted one or two years. Students were randomly assigned to the coaching program. We find that one year of coaching reduced school dropout rates by more than 40% from 17 to 10 percentage points. The second year of coaching further reduced school dropout by 1 percentage point. The program is most effective for students with a high ex-ante probability of dropping out, such as students no longer obliged to be in formal education, male students, and students not living with both parents. Cost-benefit analysis suggests that one year of coaching is likely to yield a net social gain.

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Economics of Education Review
Erasmus School of Economics

van der Steeg, M., van Elk, R., & Webbink, D. (2015). Does intensive coaching reduce school dropout? Evidence from a randomized experiment. Economics of Education Review, 48, 184–197. doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2015.07.006