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Should you compete or cooperate with your schoolmates?

Author

Listed:
  • Antonio Filippin
  • Massimiliano Bratti

    (DEAS, University of Milan)

  • Daniele Checchi

    (University of Milan)

Abstract

Building upon some education studies finding that cooperative behaviour in class yields better achievements among students, this paper presents a simple model showing that free riding incentives lead to an insufficient degree of cooperation between schoolmates, which in turn decreases the overall achievement. A cooperative learning approach may instead emerge when competitive behaviour is negatively evaluated by schoolmates, especially when the class is more homogeneous in terms of students’ characteristics (e.g., ability). Empirical evidence supporting our model is found using the 2003 wave of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey on students’ literacy levels. A competitive learning approach has a positive individual return (higher in comprehensive educational systems), while student performance increases with the average cooperative behaviour, particularly in tracked educational systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonio Filippin & Massimiliano Bratti & Daniele Checchi, 2008. "Should you compete or cooperate with your schoolmates?," UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics unimi-1074, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:bep:unimip:unimi-1074
    Note: oai:cdlib1:unimi-1074
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Wössmann, 2006. "Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences- in-Differences Evidence Across Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 63-76, March.
    2. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904.
    3. Ludger Woesmann, 2003. "Schooling Resources, Educational Institutions and Student Performance: the International Evidence," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(2), pages 117-170, May.
    4. Booth, Alison L., 2009. "Gender and competition," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 599-606, December.
    5. Bettinger, Eric & Slonim, Robert, 2007. "Patience among children," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 343-363, February.
    6. Ammermüller, Andreas, 2005. "Educational Opportunities and the Role of Institutions," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-44, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    7. Ammermüller Andreas, 2005. "Educational Opportunities and the Role of Institutions," ROA Research Memorandum 004, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2011. "The Economics of International Differences in Educational Achievement," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    2. Bigoni, Maria & Fort, Margherita & Nardotto, Mattia & Reggiani, Tommaso G., 2011. "Teams or Tournaments? A Field Experiment on Cooperation and Competition among University Students," IZA Discussion Papers 5844, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Bigoni Maria & Fort Margherita & Nardotto Mattia & Reggiani Tommaso G., 2015. "Cooperation or Competition? A Field Experiment on Non-monetary Learning Incentives," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(4), pages 1753-1792, October.
    4. Richard B. Freeman & Martina Viarengo, 2014. "School and family effects on educational outcomes across countries," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 29(79), pages 395-446, July.
    5. Román Andrés Zárate, 2012. "Peer Effects, Cooperation and Competition in Human Capital Formation," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 009795, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cooperation; competition; PISA; student attitudes;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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