In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the governments of most countries ordered the closure of all schools, potentially exacerbating existing learning gaps by socioeconomic characteristics. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of an intervention implemented in Italian middle schools that provides individual online tutoring to disadvantaged students during lock-down. Tutors are randomly assigned to middle school students, from a list of potential beneficiaries compiled by school principals. Using original survey data collected from students, parents, teachers and tutors, we find that the program increased academic performance of students and that it also improved their socio-emotional skills, aspirations, and psychological well-being.
Michela Carlana is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is affiliated with the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy and the Women in Public Policy Program. She is working on topics related to inequality and education, with a focus on gender and immigration. She is also a Faculty Affiliate of J-PAL, LEAP- Bocconi and a Research Affiliate of IZA.