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Incentives for Students: Evidence from Two Natural Experiments

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  • Philipp Beltz
  • Susanne Link
  • Andreas Ostermaier
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    Abstract

    Incentives are widely used to increase people’s effort and thus performance. Whileacademic achievement depends heavily on effort, there is little empirical evidence onhow students respond to incentives other than grades and monetary rewards. We drawon two natural experiments that occurred at a major European university and use thedifference-in-differences approach to show how program and course policies affect theeffort and performance of students. Our findings indicate that students perform worse(i) if their effort is rewarded belatedly, (ii) if their effort has little impact on their finalgrade, or (iii) if they may resit exams more often and thus less effort is required from them.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-Ifo_Working_Papers/wp-ifo-2012/IfoWorkingPaper-133.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich in its series Ifo Working Paper Series with number Ifo Working Paper No. 133.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_133

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    Related research

    Keywords: Performance; incentives; higher education; natural experiment; differencein- differences approach;

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    References

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    1. Kremer, Michael Robert & Miguel, Edward A. & Thorton, Rebecca L, 2004. "Incentives to Learn," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkele qt9kc4p47q, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    2. 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, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 761-786, October.
    3. Levitt, Steven D. & List, John A. & Neckermann, Susanne & Sado, Sally, 2012. "The behavioralist goes to school: Leveraging behavioral economics to improve educational performance," ZEW Discussion Papers, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research 12-038, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    4. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2002. "Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1535-1558, December.
    5. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2004. "Incentives to learn," Natural Field Experiments, The Field Experiments Website 00289, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Nicole Schneeweis, 2011. "Educational institutions and the integration of migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 1281-1308, October.
    7. Scott E. Carrell & Marianne E. Page & James E. West, 2010. "Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1101-1144, August.
    8. Durden, Garey C & Ellis, Larry V, 1995. "The Effects of Attendance on Student Learning in Principles of Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 343-46, May.
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    Cited by:
    1. Gabriel J. Felbermayr & Mario Larch & Wolfgang Lechthaler, 2012. "The Shimer-Puzzle of International Trade: A Quantitative Analysis," Ifo Working Paper Series, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich Ifo Working Paper No. 134, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.

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