Alicia Modestino Gives MPES Colloquium Talk

How Summer Youth Employment Programs Impact Academic Outcomes

Alicia Modestino
Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Economics
Northeastern University

Monday, November 18th
617 Library Place

Under the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act, states have focused on reducing chronic absenteeism to close achievement gaps. We provide experimental evidence regarding the impact of Summer Youth Employment Programs (SYEPs) on secondary school outcomes. We find that the Boston SYEP increases attendance after participation, decreasing chronic absenteeism by 27 percent. We also present new evidence that SYEPs reduce dropout by 2.6 percentage points and raise graduation rates by 6.1 percentage points. These outcomes are correlated with increasing aspirations to attend college, gaining basic work habits, and improving social skills. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests a benefit-to-cost ratio of 4-to-1.

Alicia Sasser Modestino is an Associate Professor with appointments in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and the Department of Economics at Northeastern University. Since 2015, Dr. Modestino has also served as the Associate Director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy. She is also a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and an invited researcher of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT. Previously, Modestino was a Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston where she led numerous research projects on regional economic and policy issues. Dr. Modestino’s current research focuses on labor and health economics including changing skill requirements, youth development, healthcare, housing, and migration. Modestino holds both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, where she also served as a doctoral fellow in the Inequality and Social Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government.