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Monetary Incentives and Student Achievement in a Depressed Labor Market: Results from a Randomized Experiment

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  • Maria De Paola
  • Vincenzo Scoppa
  • Rosanna Nisticò

Abstract

We evaluate the effectiveness of monetary incentives in enhancing student performance using a randomized experiment involving undergraduate students enrolled at a southern Italian University. Students were assigned to three different groups: a high-reward group, a low-reward group, and a control group. Rewards were given to the 30 best-performing students in each group. Financial rewards increase student performance. High-ability students react strongly whereas the effect is null for low-ability students. Large and small rewards produce very similar effects. These effects also persist in subsequent years, when the financial incentives are no longer in place. No types of crowding-out effects of the monetary incentives are found.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa & Rosanna Nisticò, 2012. "Monetary Incentives and Student Achievement in a Depressed Labor Market: Results from a Randomized Experiment," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 56-85.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jhucap:doi:10.1086/664795
    DOI: 10.1086/664795
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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