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Teams or Tournaments? A Field Experiment on Cooperation and Competition in Academic Achievement

  • M. Bigoni
  • M. Fort
  • M. Nardotto
  • T. Reggiani

This paper assesses the effect of two stylized and antithetic non-monetary incentive schemes on students’ effort. We collect data from a field experiment where incentives are exogenously imposed, performance is monitored and individual characteristics are observed. Students are randomly assigned to a tournament scheme that fosters competition between coupled students, a cooperative scheme that promotes information sharing and collaboration between students and a control treatment in which students can neither compete, nor cooperate. In line with theoretical predictions, we find that competition induces higher effort with respect to cooperation and cooperation does not increase effort with respect to the baseline. However, this is true only for men, while women do not seem to react to non-monetary incentives.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp752.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp752
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  1. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2010. "Peer group effects on the academic performance of Italian students," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(17), pages 2203-2215.
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