NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Harold Pollack

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Working Papers

May 2015Thinking, Fast and Slow? Some Field Experiments to Reduce Crime and Dropout in Chicago
with Sara B. Heller, Anuj K. Shah, Jonathan Guryan, Jens Ludwig, Sendhil Mullainathan: w21178
We present the results of three large-scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs) carried out in Chicago, testing interventions to reduce crime and dropout by changing the decision-making of economically disadvantaged youth. We study a program called Becoming a Man (BAM), developed by the non-profit Youth Guidance, in two RCTs implemented in 2009–10 and 2013– 15. In the two studies participation in the program reduced total arrests during the intervention period by 28–35%, reduced violent-crime arrests by 45–50%, improved school engagement, and in the first study where we have follow-up data, increased graduation rates by 12–19%. The third RCT tested a program with partially overlapping components carried out in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC), which reduced readmi...

Forthcoming in the Quarterly Journal of Economics

January 2014The (Surprising) Efficacy of Academic and Behavioral Intervention with Disadvantaged Youth: Results from a Randomized Experiment in Chicago
with Philip J. Cook, Kenneth Dodge, George Farkas, Roland G. Fryer, Jr, Jonathan Guryan, Jens Ludwig, Susan Mayer, Laurence Steinberg: w19862
There is growing concern that improving the academic skills of disadvantaged youth is too difficult and costly, so policymakers should instead focus either on vocationally oriented instruction for teens or else on early childhood education. Yet this conclusion may be premature given that so few previous interventions have targeted a potential fundamental barrier to school success: "mismatch" between what schools deliver and the needs of disadvantaged youth who have fallen behind in their academic or non-academic development. This paper reports on a randomized controlled trial of a two-pronged intervention that provides disadvantaged youth with non-academic supports that try to teach youth social-cognitive skills based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and intensive i...
May 2013Preventing Youth Violence and Dropout: A Randomized Field Experiment
with Sara Heller, Roseanna Ander, Jens Ludwig: w19014
Improving the long-term life outcomes of disadvantaged youth remains a top policy priority in the United States, although identifying successful interventions for adolescents - particularly males - has proven challenging. This paper reports results from a large randomized controlled trial of an intervention for disadvantaged male youth grades 7-10 from high-crime Chicago neighborhoods. The intervention was delivered by two local non-profits and included regular interactions with a pro-social adult, after-school programming, and - perhaps the most novel ingredient - in-school programming designed to reduce common judgment and decision-making problems related to automatic behavior and biased beliefs, or what psychologists call cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). We randomly assigned 2,740 yo...
January 2011If Drug Treatment Works So Well, Why Are So Many Drug Users in Prison?
with Peter Reuter, Eric L. Sevigny: w16731
This paper examines the effectiveness of drug courts to reduce the size of the incarcerated drug-offending population using data from the Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities and the Survey of Inmates in Local Jails. We find that very few of those entering state prison in 2004 or jail in 2002 would have been eligible for drug diversion through state drug courts. The policy implication is that drug courts and other diversion programs require substantial redesign if they are to contribute to a reduction in the incarcerated population.

Published: If Drug Treatment Works So Well, Why Are So Many Drug Users in Prison?, Harold Pollack, Peter Reuter, Eric Sevigny. in Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, Cook, Ludwig, and McCrary. 2011

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

 
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