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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. Kremer, Michael R. & Miguel, Edward & Thornton, Rebecca, 2009. "Incentives to Learn," Scholarly Articles 3716457, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2010. "Financial Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from Randomized Trials," NBER Working Papers 15898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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, vol. 99(4), pages 1384-1414, September.
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Cited by:
  1. 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).
  2. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List & Susanne Neckermann & Sally Sadoff, 2012. "The Behavioralist Goes to School: Leveraging Behavioral Economics to Improve Educational Performance," NBER Working Papers 18165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Borghans, Lex & Meijers, Huub & ter Weel, Bas, 2013. "The Importance of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation for Measuring IQ," IZA Discussion Papers 7182, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. 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.
  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. Robert Metcalfe & Simon Burgess & Steven Proud, 2011. "Student effort and educational attainment: Using the England football team to identify the education production function," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 11/276, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  7. Barua, Rashmi & Vidal-Fernández, Marian, 2012. "No Pass No Drive: Education and Allocation of Time," IZA Discussion Papers 6464, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Roland G. Fryer, Jr & Richard T. Holden, 2012. "Multitasking, Learning, and Incentives: A Cautionary Tale," NBER Working Papers 17752, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Barrera-Osorio, Felipe & Filmer, Deon, 2013. "Incentivizing schooling for learning : evidence on the impact of alternative targeting approaches," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6541, The World Bank.
  10. Martin Schlotter & Guido Schwerdt & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Econometric Methods for Causal Evaluation of Education Policies and Practices: A Non-Technical Guide," CESifo Working Paper Series 2877, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Carol Propper & Jack Britton, . "Does Wage Regulation Harm Kids? Evidence from English SchoolsAbstract: Teacher wages are commonly subject to centralised wage bargaining. This results in flat teacher wages across heterogeneous labour," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 12/293, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Amine Ouazad & Lionel Page, 2012. "Students’ Perceptions of Teacher Biases: Experimental Economics in Schools," CEE Discussion Papers 0133, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.

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