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Journal Of Behavioral Public Administration


Administrative burden reduces the effectiveness of public social programs by deterring take up among adults, but we know little about the role these burdens play in public programs for young people. This paper uses empirical evidence to assess how different barriers shape adolescents’ take-up of summer jobs programs. In a Philadelphia experiment, we find that reminder emails increased application completion by 1.8 percentage points (12.3 percent), with bigger effects from emphasizing short-term monetary gains. In a non-experimental analysis of Philadelphia and Chicago programs, we show that without individualized support during enrollment, disconnected youth are less likely to participate when offered a slot than their more advantaged peers. However, offering universal personalized support during enrollment makes them as or more likely to participate. These findings suggest administrative burden does constrain the benefits of public spending on youth programs and that reducing burden can increase gains from social programs for young people.


administrative burden, summer jobs, youth

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


This work is freely available under a Creative Commons license.

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