The Impact of Youth Service on Future Outcomes: Evidence from Teach For America

Will Dobbie, Roland G. Fryer, Jr

NBER Working Paper No. 17402
Issued in September 2011
NBER Program(s):   ED   LS

Nearly one million American youth have participated in service programs such as Peace Corps and Teach For America. This paper provides the first causal estimate of the impact of service programs on those who serve, using data from a web-based survey of former Teach For America applicants. We estimate the effect of voluntary youth service using a sharp discontinuity in the Teach For America application process. Participating in Teach For America increases racial tolerance, makes individuals more optimistic about the life chances of poor children, and makes them more likely to work in education. We argue that these facts are broadly consistent with the “Contact Hypothesis,” which states that, under appropriate conditions, interpersonal contact can reduce prejudice.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.


Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17402

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Dobbie and Fryer w15473 Are High Quality Schools Enough to Close the Achievement Gap? Evidence from a Social Experiment in Harlem
Kane, Rockoff, and Staiger w12155 What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City
Fryer w17494 Injecting Successful Charter School Strategies into Traditional Public Schools: A Field Experiment in Houston
Boyd, Grossman, Hammerness, Lankford, Loeb, Ronfeldt, and Wyckoff w16017 Recruiting Effective Math Teachers: How Do Math Immersion Teachers Compare?: Evidence from New York City
Barreca, Lindo, and Waddell w17408 Heaping-Induced Bias in Regression-Discontinuity Designs
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us