Hard Cash and Soft Skills: Experimental Evidence on Combining Scholarships and Mentoring in Argentina

Alejandro Ganimian, Felipe Barrera-Osorio, María Loreto Biehl, María Ángela Cortelezzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We evaluate a long-standing program run by one of the largest education foundations in Argentina that offers scholarships and nonacademic mentoring to secondary school students. We randomly assigned 408 grade 6 students within 10 public schools in the Province of Buenos Aires to either receive the program throughout secondary school or not to receive it. After three years, the program improved students’ academic behaviors (e.g., studying before an exam or catching up on missed work), but we find little evidence that these changes translated into broader improvements in students’ academic mindsets (e.g., self-beliefs about performance and efficacy), perseverance (e.g., grit), or learning strategies (e.g., metacognition). The program also improved students’ performance in school during the first year (e.g., grades, attendance, and passing rates), but we do not find similar gains in subsequent years. This may be due to a large share of treatment students being expelled from the program for not meeting its requirements. The program did not improve student learning or personality traits (e.g., conscientiousness). Finally, we find some heterogeneous effects for female students and students from low-income families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-400
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Research on Educational Effectiveness
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020


  • Argentina
  • cash transfers
  • mentoring
  • scholarships
  • soft skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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