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Paying to Learn: The Effect of Financial Incentives on Elementary School Test Scores

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  • Eric P. Bettinger

    (Stanford University)

Abstract

Policymakers and academics are increasingly interested in applying financial incentives to individuals in education. This paper presents evidence from a pay-for-performance program taking place in Coshocton, Ohio. Since 2004, Coshocton has provided cash payments to students in grades 3 through 6 for successful completion of their standardized testing. Coshocton determined eligibility for the program using randomization. Using this randomization, this paper identifies the effects of the program on students' academic behavior. We find that math scores improved about 0.15 standard deviations but that reading, social science, and science test scores did not improve. © 2012 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 94 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 686-698

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:94:y:2012:i:3:p:686-698

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Related research

Keywords: standardized testing; financial incentives; test scores; academic performance;

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  1. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2010. "Financial Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from Randomized Trials," NBER Working Papers 15898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kremer, Michael R. & Miguel, Edward & Thornton, Rebecca, 2009. "Incentives to Learn," Scholarly Articles 3716457, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy, 2009. "The Effects of High Stakes High School Achievement Awards: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1384-1414, September.
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