This paper investigates the effect of a new type of financial incentive in education targeted at regional authorities. Previous studies have focused on financial incentives for students, teachers or schools. We identify the effect by exploiting the gradual introduction of a new policy aimed at reducing school dropout in the Netherlands. The introduction of the policy in 14 out of 39 regions and the use of a specific selection rule for the participating regions allow us to estimate local difference-in-differences models. Using administrative data for all Dutch students in the year before and the year after the introduction of the new policy we find no effect of the financial incentive scheme on school dropout. In addition, we find suggestive evidence for manipulation of outcomes in response to the program.

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De Economist
Erasmus School of Economics

van Elk, R, van der Steeg, M, & Webbink, H.D. (2013). Can Financial Incentives for Regional Education Authorities Reduce School Dropout?. De Economist, 161(4), 367–398. doi:10.1007/s10645-013-9210-8