We implemented a field experiment called Show Up to Grow Up designed to increase attendance and diminish chronic absences at subsidized preschool programs in Chicago. We sent personalized text messages to parents targeting malleable factors that potentially drive absences from preschool. Using administrative records from preschools, we find that the intervention increased attended days by 2.5 (0.15 standard deviations) and decreased chronic absenteeism by 9.3 percentage points (20%) over an 18-week period. Our results suggest that the treatment impact is stronger among those in the bottom quantiles of the attendance distribution. Survey data collected at baseline suggest that our intervention made the importance of preschool more salient to parents who initially reported lower expectations for attendance and weaker beliefs about the importance of attendance to their children's development. Preschool centers may save resources by implementing low-cost light-touch interventions to meet attendance requirements.
|Number of pages
|Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
|Published - Mar 2021