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Grades, Course Evaluations, and Academic Incentives

Author

Listed:
  • David A Love

    () (Department of Economics, Williams College, South Academic Building, RM 202, Williamstown, MA 1267, USA.)

  • Matthew J Kotchen

    () (University of California, Santa Barbara and NBER, California 93106, USA.)

Abstract

We develop a model that identifies a range of new and somewhat counterintuitive results about how the incentives created by academic institutions affect student and faculty behavior. The model provides a theoretical basis for grade inflation and the behavioral response of students. Comparative statics are used to analyze the effects of institutional expectations placed on faculty. The results show that placing more emphasis on course evaluations exacerbates the problems of grade inflation and can even decrease a professor's teaching effort. Increased emphasis on research productivity also decreases teaching effort and provides a further incentive to inflate grades. We use the model to analyze how grade targets can control grade inflation and align professorial incentives with institutional objectives. We also discuss the implications of the model for hiring, promotion, and tenure.

Suggested Citation

  • David A Love & Matthew J Kotchen, 2010. "Grades, Course Evaluations, and Academic Incentives," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 151-163, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:easeco:v:36:y:2010:i:2:p:151-163
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Horacio Matos-Díaz, 2014. "Measuring grade inflation and grade divergence accounting for student quality," Cogent Economics & Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 1-16, December.
    2. Bauer, Thomas K. & Grave, Barbara S., 2011. "Performance-related Funding of Universities – Does more Competition Lead to Grade Inflation?," Ruhr Economic Papers 288, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    3. repec:zbw:rwirep:0288 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Pearce, John A., 2017. "How employers can stanch the hemorrhaging of collegiate GPA credibility," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 35-43.
    5. Thomas K. Bauer & Barbara S. Grave, 2011. "Performance-related Funding of Universities – Does more Competition Lead to Grade Inflation?," Ruhr Economic Papers 0288, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

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