Drinking from the Fountain of Knowledge: Student Incentive to Study and Learn - Externalities, Information Problems and Peer Pressure
AbstractStudents face four decision margins: (a) How many years to spend in school, (b) What to study, (c) How much effort to devote to learning per year and (d) Whether to disrupt or assist the learning of classmates. The thousands of studies that have applied human capital theory to the first two questions are reviewed elsewhere in this volume and the Handbook series. This chapter reviews an emerging economic literature on the effects of and determinants of student effort and cooperativeness and how putting student motivation and behavior at center of one's theoretical framework changes one's view of how schools operate and how they might be made more effective. In this new framework students have a dual role. They are both (a) investors/consumers who choose which goals (outputs) to focus on and how much effort to put into each goal and (b) workers getting instruction and guidance from their first-line supervisors, the teachers. A simple model is presented in which the behavior of students, teachers and administrators depends on the incentives facing them and the actions of the other actors in the system. The incentives, in turn, depend upon the cost and reliability of the information (signals) that is generated about the various inputs and outputs of the system. Our review of empirical research support many of the predictions of the model. Student effort, engagement and discipline vary a lot within schools, across schools and across nations and have significant effects on learning. Higher extrinsic rewards for learning are associated the taking of more rigorous courses, teachers setting higher standards and more time devoted to homework. Taking more rigorous courses and studying harder increase student achievement. Post-World War II trends in study effort and course rigor, for example, are positively correlated with achievement trends. Even though, greater rigor and higher standards improve learning, parents and students prefer easy teachers. They pressure tough teachers to lower standards and sign up for courses taught by easy graders. Curriculum-based external exit examinations (CBEEES) improve the signaling of academic achievement to colleges and the labor market and this increases extrinsic rewards for learning. Cross-section studies suggest that CBEEES result in greater focus on academics, more tutoring of lagging students, and higher levels of achievement. Minimum competency examinations (MCE) do not have significant effects on learning or dropout rates but they do appear to have positive effects on the reputation of high school graduates. As a result, students from MCE states earn significantly more than students from states without MCEs and the effect lasts at least eight years. Students who attend schools with studious well-behaved classmates learn more. Disruptive students generate negative production externalities and cooperative hard-working students create positive production externalities. Peer effects are also generated by the norms of student peer cultures that encourage disruptive students and harass nerds. In addition learning is poorly signaled to employers and colleges. Thus, market signals and the norms of student peer culture do not internalize the externalities that are pervasive in school settings and as a result students typically devote less effort to studying than the taxpayers who fund schools would wish.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
This chapter was published in:
This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of the Economics of Education with number 2-15.
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevierdirect.com/product.jsp?isbn=9780444513991
academic achievement; signaling achievement; student motivation; student engagement; homework; high school exit exams; student accountability; human capital theory; peer culture; peer effects; student norms; educational standards; peer learning externalities; payoffs to academic achievement; academic climate; nerd harassment; secondary education; K-12 education; PISA (Program for International Student Assessment);
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2008.
"A signalling model of school grades: centralized versus decentralized examinations,"
Economics of Education Working Paper Series
0025, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
- De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2008. "A signalling model of school grades: centralized versus decentralized examinations," MPRA Paper 7866, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Eric A. Hanushek & Susanne Link & Ludger Woessmann, 2011.
"Does School Autonomy Make Sense Everywhere? Panel Estimates from PISA,"
NBER Working Papers
17591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hanushek, Eric A. & Link, Susanne & Woessmann, Ludger, 2013. "Does school autonomy make sense everywhere? Panel estimates from PISA," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 212-232.
- Hanushek, Eric A. & Link, Susanne & Woessmann, Ludger, 2011. "Does School Autonomy Make Sense Everywhere? Panel Estimates from PISA," IZA Discussion Papers 6185, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Eric A. Hanushek & Susanne Link & Ludger Woessmann, 2011. "Does School Autonomy Make Sense Everywhere? Panel Estimates from PISA," CESifo Working Paper Series 3648, CESifo Group Munich.
- Hanushek, Eric A. & Link, Susanne & Woessmann, Ludger, 2012. "Does School Autonomy Make Sense Everywhere? Panel Estimates from PISA," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 296, Asian Development Bank.
- Eric Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2012.
"Do better schools lead to more growth? Cognitive skills, economic outcomes, and causation,"
Journal of Economic Growth,
Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 267-321, December.
- Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Do Better Schools Lead to More Growth? Cognitive Skills, Economic Outcomes, and Causation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2524, CESifo Group Munich.
- Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2009. "Do Better Schools Lead to More Growth? Cognitive Skills, Economic Outcomes, and Causation," IZA Discussion Papers 4575, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Do Better Schools Lead to More Growth? Cognitive Skills, Economic Outcomes, and Causation," NBER Working Papers 14633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Eric Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Do Better Schools Lead to More Growth? Cognitive Skills, Economic Outcomes, and Causation," Discussion Papers 08-015, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
- Luehrmann, Melanie & Chevalier, Arnaud & Dolton, Peter, 2013. "Making it count Evidence from a Field Experiment on Assessment Rules, Study Incentives and Student Performance," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79795, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
- Marc Piopiunik & Martin Schlotter, 2012. "Identifying the Incidence of "Grading on a Curve":A Within-Student Across-Subject Approach," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 121, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
- Piopiunik, Marc & Schwerdt, Guido & Woessmann, Ludger, 2013.
"Central school exit exams and labor-market outcomes,"
European Journal of Political Economy,
Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 93-108.
- Piopiunik, Marc & Schwerdt, Guido & Woessmann, Ludger, 2012. "Central School Exit Exams and Labor-Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 6889, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Marc Piopiunik & Guido Schwerdt & Ludger Woessmann, 2012. "Central School Exit Exams and Labor-Market Outcomes," CESifo Working Paper Series 3940, CESifo Group Munich.
- Koerselman, Kristian, 2013. "Incentives from curriculum tracking," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 140-150.
- Martin R. West & Ludger Woessmann, 2010.
"'Every Catholic Child in a Catholic School': Historical Resistance to State Schooling, Contemporary Private Competition and Student Achievement across Countries,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(546), pages F229-F255, 08.
- West, Martin R. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2008. ""Every Catholic Child in a Catholic School": Historical Resistance to State Schooling, Contemporary Private Competition, and Student Achievement across Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 3818, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Martin R. West & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "“Every Catholic Child in a Catholic School”: Historical Resistance to State Schooling, Contemporary Private Competition, and Student Achievement across Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 2332, CESifo Group Munich.
- 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.
- 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.
- Luis Fernando Gamboa & Mauricio Rodríguez-Acosta & Andrés Felipe García-Suaza, 2010. "Academic achievement in sciences: the role of preferences and educative assets," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 006701, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.