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Grade Inflation under the Threat of Students' Nuisance: Theory and Evidence

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  • Wan-Ju Iris Franz

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine)

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    Abstract

    This study examines a channel, students’ nuisance, to explain grade inflation. “Students’ nuisance†is defined by “students’ pestering the professors for better grades.†This paper contains two parts: the game theoretic model and the empirical tests. The model shows that the potential threat of students’ nuisance can induce the professors to inflate grades. Ceteris paribus, a student is more likely to study little and to pester the professor for a better grade if: 1. the professor is lenient; 2. the studying cost is high; 3. the reward from pestering is high; 4. the cost of pestering is low. My original survey data show that 70%+ of professors think that students’ nuisance is “annoying†and “costly in terms of time, effort, and energy.†Regression results indicate that themore the student values the grade, the higher the studying cost, and the more likely the student is to pester the professor.

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    File URL: http://www.economics.uci.edu/files/economics/docs/workingpapers/2007-08/franz-06.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 070806.

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    Length: 57 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:irv:wpaper:070806

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    Keywords: Grade inflation; Grade exaggeration; Students' nuisance;

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    1. Wikstrom, Christina & Wikstrom, Magnus, 2005. "Grade inflation and school competition: an empirical analysis based on the Swedish upper secondary schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 309-322, June.
    2. Paul M. Anglin & Ronald Meng, 2000. "Evidence on Grades and Grade Inflation at Ontario's Universities," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(3), pages 361-368, September.
    3. J. S. Butler & T. Aldrich Finegan & John J. Siegfried, 1998. "Does more calculus improve student learning in intermediate micro- and macroeconomic theory?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(2), pages 185-202.
    4. Richard Sabot & John Wakeman-Linn, 1991. "Grade Inflation and Course Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 159-170, Winter.
    5. Kwang Soo Cheong, 2000. "Grade Inflation at the University of Hawaii-Manoa," Working Papers, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics 200002, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    6. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Educational Production," NBER Working Papers 7349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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