Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Evaluating the effects of university grants by using regression discontinuity designs

an article by Fabrizia Mealli and Carla Rampichini (Università di Firenze, Italy) published in Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) Volume 175 Issue 3 (July 2012)


The paper evaluates the effects of Italian university grants on student dropout. Eligible applicants receive a grant if their family economic indicator is below a specified threshold, so the grant assignment rule appeals to a regression discontinuity design.

After a brief introduction to regression discontinuity designs, the particular setting that is considered in the paper is formalized.

Difference-in-difference type assumptions are introduced to identify and estimate the effect away from the threshold. Empirical results show that, at the threshold, the grant is an effective tool to prevent students from low income families from dropping out of higher education.

However, there is some evidence that the effect of the grant becomes smaller and not significant for poorer students who are further from the threshold.

Hazel’s comment:
I’m sorry that my ability with statistics gets less and less with the passing of the years – a clear case of use it or lose it – or I would be able to understand the workings of this research.
However, I do understand the words well enough to realise that the retention effect of a grant gets less the poorer the student’s family is.

No comments: