October 2010

IZA DP No. 5255: Mentoring, Educational Services, and Incentives to Learn: What Do We Know About Them?

substantially revised version published in: Evaluation and Program Planning, 2012, 35 (4), 481-490

This paper reviews recent studies on the effectiveness of services and incentives offered to disadvantaged youth. We focus our analysis on three types of interventions: mentoring, educational services, and financial rewards. The objective of this article is threefold. First, we explain alternative theoretical points of view in favor (or against – when applicable) each of these interventions. Then, we discuss how recent empirical work has affected that view, and we summarize the latest findings. We conclude with a discussion on what questions remain to be examined. Our hope is that this article will serve as a resource for those seeking to understand what educational interventions work and for whom, and to use as a starting point to illuminate the debate on where to go next.