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Financial incentives and study duration in higher education

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  • Trude Gunnes
  • Lars J. Kirkebøen
  • Marte Rønning

    ()
    (Statistics Norway)

Abstract

This paper investigates to which extent students in higher education respond to financial incentives by adjusting their study behavior. Students in Norway who completed certain graduate study programs between autumn 1990 and 1995 on stipulated time were entitled to a restitution of approximately 3,000 USD from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund. Comparing treated and untreated (control) programs in a difference-in-difference framework, we find that the average delay in the treatment group decreased by on average 0.8 semester during the reform period, and by 1.5 semesters in the following two years. Number of years treated matter strongly, with delays reduced by 0.23 semesters per year treated. Furthermore, there is some indication that it is important that treatment starts before the final part of the educational programs. The share of on-time graduation increases by 3.8 percentage points per year treated, from a pre-reform level of about 20 percent. Thus, a large share of the restitutions given will be for students who would otherwise not have graduated on time. A series of robustness checks indicate that our estimated effects do not reflect differential trends or omitted variables.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 714.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:714

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Keywords: Financial incentives; higher education; on-time graduation; semesters delayed; difference-in-difference;

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  1. Helena Skyt Nielsen & Torben S�rensen & Christopher Taber, 2010. "Estimating the Effect of Student Aid on College Enrollment: Evidence from a Government Grant Policy Reform," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 185-215, May.
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  10. Martin Heineck & Mathias Kifmann & Normann Lorenz, 2006. "A Duration Analysis of the Effects of Tuition Fees for Long-Term Students in Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 226(1), pages 82-109, January.
  11. Bengt Holmstrom & Paul R. Milgrom, 1985. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 742, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  12. John Bound & Sarah Turner, 2007. "Understanding the Increased Time to the Baccalaureate Degree," Discussion Papers 06-043, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  13. Juanna Schrøter Joensen, 2010. "Timing and Incentives: Impacts of Student Aid on Academic Achievement," 2010 Meeting Papers 823, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Bas van der Klaauw, 2004. "The e ect of financial rewards on students achievement: Evidence from a randomized experiment," HEW 0410002, EconWPA.
  15. Häkkinen, Iida & Uusitalo, Roope, 2003. "The Effect of a Student Aid Reform on Graduation: A Duration Analysis," Working Paper Series 2003:8, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  16. Light, Audrey, 2001. "In-School Work Experience and the Returns to Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 65-93, January.
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