Sorry, Kids: No More Cash For Going To School.

A pilot project that paid poor kids for regular attendance at school, and paid their parents for things like going to the dentist, showed middling results.

The program did seem to help in some ways. It reduced “some housing and hunger hardships,” according to a report that came out yesterday. But it did not improve achievement for students in elementary or middle school. It did appear to help one subset of students — high-school kids who were unusually well prepared when they started high school.

Payments ranged from two- to three-figures. Kids got $25 to $50 a month for regular school attendance, for example.

This type of program, known as a conditional cash transfer, has been used widely in the developing world. It's as straightforward an economic incentive as you can think of: Do this thing, and you'll get money.

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