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A randomized experiment using absenteeism information to "nudge" attendance


Can a single postcard sent to guardians help reduce student absenteeism? This randomized controlled trial, conducted in collaboration with the School District of Philadelphia, shows that: (a) a single mail piece that encouraged guardians to improve their student's attendance reduced absences by roughly 2.4 percentage points; (b) there were no statistically significant differences between two types of messages in reducing student absences; and (c) the effect of the single mailing did not differ for students in grades K–8 versus students in grades 9–12.

Publication Type:
Making an Impact
Online Availability:
Publication Date:
February 2017