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

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Author Info

  • 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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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/REST_a_00217
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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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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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Related research

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

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References

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  1. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2004. "Incentives to Learn," NBER Working Papers 10971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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, vol. 99(4), pages 1384-1414, September.
  3. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2010. "Financial Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from Randomized Trials," NBER Working Papers 15898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Borghans, Lex & Meijers, Huub & Weel, Bas ter, 2013. "The importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for measuring IQ," MERIT Working Papers 006, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  2. Carol Propper & Jack Britton, 2012. "Does Wage Regulation Harm Kids? Evidence from English Schools," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 12/293, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  3. repec:dgr:unumer:2013006 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Ouazad, Amine & Page, Lionel, 2013. "Students' perceptions of teacher biases: Experimental economics in schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 116-130.
  5. Joshua Angrist & Philip Oreopoulos & Tyler Williams, 2010. "When Opportunity Knocks, Who Answers? New Evidence on College Achievement Awards," NBER Working Papers 16643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Martin Schlotter & Guido Schwerdt & Ludger Woessmann, 2011. "Econometric methods for causal evaluation of education policies and practices: a non-technical guide," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 109-137.
  7. Uschi Backes-Gellner & Yvonne Oswald, 2012. "Learning for a bonus: How financial incentives interact with preferences," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0079, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  8. Robert Metcalfe & Simon Burgess and Steven Proud, 2011. "Student effort and educational attainment: Using the England football team to identify the education production function," Economics Series Working Papers 586, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. Roland G. Fryer, 2011. "Teacher Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from New York City Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 16850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Li, Tao & Han, Li & Zhang, Linxiu & Rozelle, Scott, 2014. "Encouraging classroom peer interactions: Evidence from Chinese migrant schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 29-45.
  11. Babcock, Philip & Bedard, Kelly & Charness, Gary & Hartman, John & Royer, Heather, 2012. "Letting Down the Team? Social Effects of Team Incentives," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt93n646db, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.

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