Supporting Pathways out of Poverty: Randomization Evaluation of AMP Up
Building on behavioral economics research that finds poverty impedes problem-solving capacity, Mobility Mentoring is a comprehensive coaching program developed by Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath) that helps low-income clients acquire the resources, skills, and sustained behavior changes necessary to attain and preserve economic independence. Professional mentors work with clients to create achievable goals across multiple domains, including family and housing stability, health, education and training, financial management, and career development. Non-experimental (before/after) evidence indicates earnings gains of about 100% for program completers but concerns of selection bias and attrition plague these estimates. In partnership with EMPath and the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), Larry Katz, John Tebes, Liz Engle, and J-PAL staff will evaluate the impact of Mobility Mentoring on low-income BHA residents through a randomized evaluation. This iteration of the program, named AMP Up, will be offered to adults who live in BHA housing. The primary outcomes are earnings and employment of adult program participants. Power calculations imply that we should be able to detect a 29% treatment effect on earnings and 17% effect on employment with 285 treatment and 570 control participants.