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

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  • Eric P. Bettinger

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 three through six for successful completion of their standardized testing. Coshocton determined eligibility for the program using randomization, and 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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16333.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16333.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Publication status: published as Eric P. Bettinger, 2012. "Paying to Learn: The Effect of Financial Incentives on Elementary School Test Scores," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 686-698, August.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16333

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References

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  1. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2009. "Incentives to Learn," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 437-456, August.
  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. Borghans, Lex & Meijers, Huub & ter Weel, Bas, 2013. "The importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for measuring IQ," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 17-28.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  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. 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 12-038, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. 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).
  11. 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.
  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. 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.
  14. 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.

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