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Grades as incentives

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  • Darren Grant

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  • William Green

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Abstract

This paper examines how grade incentives affect student learning across a variety of courses at two universities, using for identification the discrete rewards offered by the standard A–F letter-grade system. We develop and test five predictions about the provision of study effort and the distribution of numerical course averages in the presence of the thresholds that separate these discrete rewards. Surprisingly, all are rejected in our data. There is no evidence that exam performance is improved for those students that stand to gain the most from additional study. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Darren Grant & William Green, 2013. "Grades as incentives," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 1563-1592, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:44:y:2013:i:3:p:1563-1592
    DOI: 10.1007/s00181-012-0578-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Grant, Darren, 2016. "The essential economics of threshold-based incentives: Theory, estimation, and evidence from the Western States 100," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 180-197.
    2. Darren Grant, 2010. "The Simple Economics of Thresholds: Evidence from the Western States 100," Working Papers 1004, Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business.
    3. Alejandro Cid & José María Cabrera, 2012. "Joint-Liability vs. Individual Incentives in the Classroom. Lessons from a Field Experiment with Undergraduate Students," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1206, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
    4. Noemí Herranz-Zarzoso & Gerardo Sabater-Grande, 2016. "Financial incentives and academic performance: An experimental study," Working Papers 2016/18, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
    5. Baldauf, Markus & Mollner, Joshua, 2019. "Pedaling peers: The effect of targets on performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 90-103.
    6. Marianne Bernatzky & José María Cabrera & Alejandro Cid, 2014. "Gender & High Frequency vs. Low Frequency tasks in a context of Joint-Liability Incentives," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1405, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
    7. Cid, Alejandro & Bernatzky, Marianne, 2014. "Gender and high frequency vs low frequency tasks in a context of joint-liability incentives," MPRA Paper 59960, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Educational assessment; Thresholds; Behavioral incentives; I21; A22; D10;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • A22 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Undergraduate
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General

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