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Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial

  • Philip Oreopoulos
  • Daniel Lang
  • Joshua Angrist

This paper reports on an experimental evaluation of strategies designed to improve academic performance among college freshmen. One treatment group was offered academic support services. Another was offered financial incentives for good grades. A third group combined both interventions. Service use was highest for women and for subjects in the combined group. The combined treatment also raised the grades and improved the academic standing of women. These differentials persisted through the end of second year, though incentives were given in the first year only. This suggests study skills among some treated women increased. In contrast, the program had no effect on men. (JEL I21, I28)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 136-63

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:1:p:136-63
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.1.136
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  1. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," NBER Working Papers 12139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2001. "Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  7. Joshua Angrist, 1988. "Grouped Data Estimation and Testing in Simple Labor Supply Models," Working Papers 614, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  8. J. Dominitz & C. F. Manski, . "Using expectations data to study subjective income expectations," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1050-94, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  9. Zeman, Klarka & Frenette, Marc, 2007. "Why Are Most University Students Women? Evidence Based on Academic Performance, Study Habits and Parental Influences," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2007303e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  10. Pietro Garibaldi & Francesco Giavazzi & Andrea Ichino & Enrico Rettore, 2007. "College Cost and Time to Complete a Degree: Evidence from Tuition Discontinuities," NBER Working Papers 12863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Susan Dynarski, 2008. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(3), pages 576-610.
  12. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  13. 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.
  14. Susan Clampet-Lundquist & J. Greg Duncan & Kathryn Edin & Jeffrey R. Kling, 2006. "Moving At-Risk Teenagers Out of High-Risk Neighborhoods: Why Girls Fare Better Than Boys," Working Papers 888, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  15. Kremer, Michael R. & Miguel, Edward & Thornton, Rebecca, 2009. "Incentives to Learn," Scholarly Articles 3716457, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Susan Dynarski, 2002. "The Consequences of Merit Aid," NBER Working Papers 9400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Markus Frölich & Blaise Melly, 2007. "Unconditional quantile treatment effects under endogeneity," CeMMAP working papers CWP32/07, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  18. Philip Oreopoulos & Daniel Lang & Joshua Angrist, 2009. "Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 136-63, January.
  19. Leuven, Edwin & Oosterbeek, Hessel & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2003. "The Effect of Financial Rewards on Students' Achievements: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 3921, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2004. "Targeted Remedial Education for Under-Performing Teenagers: Costs and Benefits," NBER Working Papers 10575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Sergio Firpo, 2007. "Efficient Semiparametric Estimation of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 259-276, 01.
  22. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2005. "Addressing the Needs of Under-Prepared Students in Higher Education: Does College Remediation Work?," NBER Working Papers 11325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Do dropouts drop out too soon? Wealth, health and happiness from compulsory schooling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2213-2229, December.
  24. 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, vol. 24(4), pages 761-786, October.
  25. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "A Little Now for a Lot Later: A Look at a Texas Advanced Placement Incentive Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
  26. Joshua Angrist & Daniel Lang & Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Lead Them to Water and Pay Them to Drink: An Experiment with Services and Incentives for College Achievement," NBER Working Papers 12790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Michael Anderson, 2005. "Uncovering Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," HEW 0509008, EconWPA, revised 26 Sep 2005.
  28. Kane, Thomas J & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1995. "Labor-Market Returns to Two- and Four-Year College," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 600-614, June.
  29. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
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