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Education Maintenance Allowance evaluation with administrative data

Haroon Chowdry, Lorraine Dearden and Carl Emmerson
External publication

This report contains the findings of an evaluation of the impact of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) using administrative data. We analyse the effects of its initial piloting - and subsequent extension - on participation in full-time education at ages 16 and 17, and on educational achievement at ages 18 and 19. Furthermore, we conduct subgroup analysis to break down the overall effect by different background characteristics. This allows us to see how the impact of the EMA varies according to characteristics such as sex, ethnic group, and potential indicators of material deprivation and prior academic ability.

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The Government defends its intention to scrap EMA - and replace it with a smaller payment - on the grounds that the EMA is expensive and fails to deliver enough bang for its buck. But what does the evidence on the effectiveness of the EMA show?