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Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial

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  • Philip Oreopoulos
  • Daniel Lang
  • Joshua Angrist

Abstract

This paper reports on an experimental evaluation of strategies designed to improve academic performance among college freshmen. One treatment group was offered academic support services. Another was offered financial incentives for good grades. A third group combined both interventions. Service use was highest for women and for subjects in the combined group. The combined treatment also raised the grades and improved the academic standing of women. These differentials persisted through the end of second year, though incentives were given in the first year only. This suggests study skills among some treated women increased. In contrast, the program had no effect on men. (JEL I21, I28)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 136-63

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:1:p:136-63

Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.1.136
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  1. Dynarski, Susan, 2002. "The Consequences of Merit Aid," Working Paper Series rwp02-051, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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  8. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2005. "Addressing the Needs of Under-Prepared Students in Higher Education: Does College Remediation Work?," NBER Working Papers 11325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2001. "Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Angrist, Joshua & Lavy, Victor, 2002. "The Effect of High School Matriculation Awards: Evidence from Randomized Trials," CEPR Discussion Papers 3827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Zeman, Klarka & Frenette, Marc, 2007. "Why Are Most University Students Women? Evidence Based on Academic Performance, Study Habits and Parental Influences," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2007303e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  12. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  13. Michael Anderson, 2005. "Uncovering Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," HEW 0509008, EconWPA, revised 26 Sep 2005.
  14. Joshua Angrist, 1988. "Grouped Data Estimation and Testing in Simple Labor Supply Models," Working Papers 614, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  15. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Bas van der Klaauw, 2006. "The effect of financial rewards on students' achievement: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Artefactual Field Experiments 00078, The Field Experiments Website.
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  18. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Do dropouts drop out too soon? Wealth, health and happiness from compulsory schooling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2213-2229, December.
  19. Kremer, Michael & Miguel, Edward & Thornton, Rebecca & Ozier, Owen, 2005. "Incentives to learn," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3546, The World Bank.
  20. Philip Oreopoulos & Daniel Lang & Joshua Angrist, 2009. "Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 136-63, January.
  21. Susan Dynarski, 2008. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(3), pages 576-610.
  22. Susan Clampet-Lundquist & J. Greg Duncan & Kathryn Edin & Jeffrey R. Kling, 2006. "Moving At-Risk Teenagers Out of High-Risk Neighborhoods: Why Girls Fare Better Than Boys," Working Papers 888, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  23. Goldin, Claudia & Kuziemko, Ilyana & Katz, Lawrence, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," Scholarly Articles 2962611, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  24. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "A Little Now for a Lot Later: A Look at a Texas Advanced Placement Incentive Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
  25. Joshua Angrist & Daniel Lang & Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Lead Them to Water and Pay Them to Drink: An Experiment with Services and Incentives for College Achievement," NBER Working Papers 12790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
  27. Christopher Cornwell & David B. Mustard & Deepa J. Sridhar, 2006. "The Enrollment Effects of Merit-Based Financial Aid: Evidence from Georgia's HOPE Program," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 761-786, October.
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