Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2012:24: The value of earning for learning: performance bonuses in immigrant language training

Olof Åslund () and Mattias Engdahl ()
Additional contact information
Olof Åslund: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Mattias Engdahl: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, Postal: P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala , Sweden

Abstract: We study the effects of performance bonuses in immigrant language training for adults. A Swedish policy pilot conducted in 2009–2010 gave a randomly assigned group of municipalities the right to grant substantial cash bonuses to recently arrived migrants. The results suggest substantial effects on average student achievement. But these were fully driven by metropolitan areas; in other parts of Sweden performance was unaffected. The relative effects were larger for younger students but similar for men and women, and present for migrants from different parts of the world. The bonus had a less clear impact on enrollment, but there are indications that it may have increased the probability of progressing to bonus-awarding courses in metropolitan areas.

Keywords: immigration; language training; performance bonus

JEL-codes: I24; J08; J15

53 pages, December 10, 2012

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