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Research Master Defense

Role Models and Children’s Aspirations

  • Series
    Research Master Defense
  • Speaker
    Maddalena Totarelli
  • Location
  • Date and time

    August 26, 2021
    15:00 - 16:00

This study explores whether it is possible to affect children’s aspirations and ambitions through a classroom based intervention. We design and implement ORME, an Online Role-model Mentoring program, which consists of exposing children to online meetings with a group of role models. We evaluate ORME with a small RCT targeting 7th grade students (12-13 years old) in Campania, an Italian region historically plagued by stagnating economic conditions, the presence of organized crime, and a generalized lack of trust in institutions. We find that children exposed to ORME are 6.9 percentage points more likely to aspire to enroll into an academic high school. In addition, ORME increases children’s grit by 0.14 of a standard deviation. Results, obtained through a small-scale pilot project, should be taken with caution as the small sample size does not allow to find precise estimates. Findings need to be confirmed through a larger scale implementation of ORME.