Chapter 2. Do student mobility grants lead to “more and better jobs”?
2.3 Data collection and description
2.3.1 Treated group
The sampling frame used to conduct the web survey for the treated group was comprised of 2,440 records, corresponding to all applicants to M&B in the years from 2005 to 2009. Over this period, 4 calls of the programme were made: 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The Table 2.1 shows all the applicants divided by call and by whether their application was successful or unsuccessful.
Table 2.1 – Ratio of successful applications by call
Call Unsuccessful Successful Total
N° % N° % N° % 2006 13 2 786 98 799 100 2007 76 19 333 81 409 100 2008 175 27 461 73 636 100 2009 150 25 446 75 596 100 Total 414 17 2,026 83 2,440 100
Source: Author’s elaboration on data from the Regional Employment Agency.
The data shows that very few applicants failed to obtain the scholarship: the minimum number is 13 in 2006 (corresponding to 2%), while the maximum is 175 in 2008 (corresponding to 27%); the overall average corresponds to 17% of the applicants (i.e., 414 applicants out of 2,440).
The Table 2.2 shows the number of respondents to the web survey out of the total number of recipients, for each call. Overall, the response rate is almost 40% for the participants from the calls in 2006 and 2007, whereas it is higher than 50% for the calls in 2008 and 2009.
Table 2.2 – Response rate by call
Call Non respondent Respondent Total
N° % N° % N° % 2006 479 61 307 39 786 100 2007 205 62 128 38 333 100 2008 225 49 236 51 461 100 2009 222 50 224 50 446 100 Total 1,131 56 895 44 2,026 100
Source: Author’s data.
As outlined in Chapter 1, the rules of the programme calls changed over time, thus making it preferable to avoid analysing the data from different calls together. For most calls, their evaluation has indeed been kept separate. However, due to low sample sizes it proved necessary to merge together the data from the calls in 2007 and 2008. We do not expect this decision to have biased the results, since these two calls were temporally contiguous and relied on similar selection rules. In particular, the priority sectors to earmark available resources were exactly the same (see Chapter 1). Therefore, the sample encompassing the calls in 2007 and 2008 is hereafter referred to as call “2007&2008”.
78 The M&B programme provided financial support for 6 different types of postgraduate studies (see Chapter 1 for a description). However, since these categories are very different from each other, some of them have been discarded to make the “treatment” more homogeneous. For this reason, “education during the second year of specialist degrees” has been discarded, since it requires a lower level of education than most of the others programmes: first-level degree compared to a specialist degree. Moreover, “academic diplomas in arts and music”, “higher education in arts and music” and “training experiences of excellence in arts and music” have been discarded for the same reason highlighted above as well as in that the topic (arts and music) was not coherent with the other categories taken into account. Overall, 154 observations out of 2,026 have been discarded, reducing the sample to 1,872 observations. The Table 2.3 lists the final degree categories on which the analysis focusses, with annexed web survey response statistics.
Table 2.3 – Response rate by programme type
M&B postgrad type Non respondent Respondent Total
N° % N° % N° %
University masters 528 55 440 45 968 100
Masters of high profess. 301 55 245 45 546 100
Ph.D. 204 57 154 43 358 100
Total 1,033 55 839 45 1,872 100
Source: Author’s data.
From the Table 2.3 we see that the response rate is roughly the same in all the categories: 45%, corresponding to 839 interviewees. It is worth noting that Master’s- level programmes are divided into 2 sub-categories, since the Italian academic system distinguishes between Master’s degrees granted by universities (University masters) and master’s diplomas granted by organizations other than universities (Masters of high professionalization). However, in the analysis the treatment is modelled as a binary variable; therefore, in the impact evaluation no distinction is made between these three categories.
As well as the observations discarded because of the category of study, a few more have been eliminated because they had not yet completed their programme-supported education at the time the data were collected. Obviously, for those still “under treatment” no impact evaluation can be performed. For this reason, 51 observations out of 839 who received the treatment and responded to our questionnaire have been
79 discarded, reducing the number of respondents of the treated group to 788 observations.
Moreover, special attention has been paid to those recipients who, in addition to the scholarship for their studies, were also awarded the incentive for returning to work in Sardinia through the Back part of the programme – or just Back (for further information on the Back see Chapter 1). Naturally, the outcomes of this sub-group might be anomalous as compared to the rest of the sample, particularly for those subjects who were participating in the Back when their interviews were conducted.
The Table 2.4 reports the incidence of the sub-programme Back among the recipients of M&B for Higher Education, by call. The rows represent the calls while the columns the status of the M&B Higher Education recipients with regard to the so called Back part of the programme The first column reports the number (and percentage) of recipients of M&B Higher Education who have not done the “Back”, the second one of those who have done and concluded it and the third one of those who have done but not concluded it (i.e., it was still in progress when the web survey was conducted), finally the last column represents the total, corresponding to all the recipients of the programme M&B Higher Education.
Table 2.4 – Prevalence of the Back among the recipients of M&B Higher Education
Call No Back Back concluded Back in progress Total=Recip. M&B H.E.
N° % N° % N° % N° %
2006 145 53 85 31 44 16 274 100
2007&2008 185 57 34 10 107 33 326 100
2009 168 89 1 1 19 10 188 100
Total 498 63 120 15 170 22 788 100
Source: Author’s data.
The Table 2.4 shows that, by far, the highest number of Backs in progress originated from the call 2007&2008, while the lowest from 20098. Overall, out of 788 recipients who responded to our questionnaire, 290 (37%) have also been awarded the grant for the Back; of these, 170 (22% of the full sample) were currently participating in the Back
In 2009 the incidence of both Backs concluded and in progress is so low since when the interviews were conducted these recipients had only recently concluded their studies; therefore, most individuals had not had the opportunity to participate in a call for the Back yet.
80 when the interview took place while 120 (15% of the full sample) had already concluded it. In order to minimise potential bias, we discarded all those that were participating in the Back when the interviews took place, since both their odds of employment and their income (the outcomes of interest for this chapter) would likely be biased. Indeed, by definition, those participating in the Back are always employed and their income is determined by the economic incentives provided by the regional government. In short, this issue further reduced the size of the treated group to 618. On the other hand, subjects who participated in the Back part of programme but concluded it before their interview have not been eliminated since, at that time, they were not receiving any public support.