Design, Sites, and Data Sources
Starting in mid-1989, each of nearly 10,000 eligible teens was randomly assigned to a program group, which was subject to LEAP’s rules, bonuses, and penalties, or a control group, which remained subject to the prior welfare rules. Because teens were assigned to the groups at random, any differences in their experiences during the study’s four-and-a-half-year follow-up period can be confidently attributed to LEAP.
Though the program operated statewide, random assignment took place in 12 counties that together encompassed about two-thirds of Ohio’s total LEAP caseload: Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lorain, Lucas, Montgomery, Muskingum, Stark, Summit, and Trumbull.
The findings are based on LEAP records, follow-up surveys of sample members conducted one year and three years after random assignment, and public administrative records.