IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/bri/uobdis/16-678.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Understanding the Response to Financial and Non-Financial Incentives in Education: Field Experimental Evidence Using High-Stakes Assessments

Author

Listed:
  • Simon Burgess
  • Robert Metcalfe
  • Sally Sadoff

Abstract

We analyze the impact of incentivizing students’ effort during the school year on performance on high-stakes assessments in a field experiment with 63 low-income high schools and over 10,000 students. We contribute to the literature on education incentives by incentivising inputs rather than output, by focusing on high stakes outcomes, and by comparing financial and non-financial rewards. We take advantage of our large sample and rich data to explore heterogeneity in the effects of incentives, and identify a “right tail” of underperforming students who experience a significant impact on high stakes assessments. Among students in the upper half of the distribution of incentive effectiveness, exam scores improve by 10% to 20% of a standard deviation, equal to about half the attainment gap between poor and non-poor students.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Burgess & Robert Metcalfe & Sally Sadoff, 2016. "Understanding the Response to Financial and Non-Financial Incentives in Education: Field Experimental Evidence Using High-Stakes Assessments," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 16/678, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:uobdis:16/678
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/efm/media/workingpapers/working_papers/pdffiles/dp16678.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
    2. Deborah Wilson & Simon Burgess & Adam Briggs, 2011. "The dynamics of school attainment of England’s ethnic minorities," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(2), pages 681-700, April.
    3. Robert Metcalfe & Simon Burgess and Steven Proud, 2011. "Student effort and educational attainment: Using the England football team to identify the education production function," Economics Series Working Papers 586, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    4. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Bas van der Klaauw, 2010. "The Effect of Financial Rewards on Students' Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(6), pages 1243-1265, December.
    5. Miriam Bruhn & David McKenzie, 2009. "In Pursuit of Balance: Randomization in Practice in Development Field Experiments," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 200-232, October.
    6. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2014. "Measuring the Impacts of Teachers I: Evaluating Bias in Teacher Value-Added Estimates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(9), pages 2593-2632, September.
    7. Ashraf, Nava & Bandiera, Oriana & Jack, B. Kelsey, 2014. "No margin, no mission? A field experiment on incentives for public service delivery," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 1-17.
    8. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2014. "Measuring the Impacts of Teachers II: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(9), pages 2633-2679, September.
    9. Athey, Susan & Imbens, Guido W., 2015. "Machine Learning for Estimating Heterogeneous Causal Effects," Research Papers 3350, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    10. Behrman, Jere R & Sengupta, Piyali & Todd, Petra, 2005. "Progressing through PROGRESA: An Impact Assessment of a School Subsidy Experiment in Rural Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 237-275, October.
    11. Lisa Barrow & Cecilia E. Rouse, 2013. "Financial Incentives and Educational Investment: The Impact of Performance-Based Scholarships on Student Time Use," NBER Working Papers 19351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Paul T. Decker & Daniel P. Mayer & Steven Glazerman, "undated". "The Effects of Teach For America on Students: Findings from a National Evaluation," Mathematica Policy Research Reports c8b5eb6d499c465c86a96bee4, Mathematica Policy Research.
    13. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    14. Roland G. Fryer, 2011. "Financial Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from Randomized Trials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1755-1798.
    15. Stefano DellaVigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier, 2012. "Testing for Altruism and Social Pressure in Charitable Giving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 1-56.
    16. Jordi Blanes i Vidal & Mareike Nossol, 2011. "Tournaments Without Prizes: Evidence from Personnel Records," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(10), pages 1721-1736, October.
    17. Steven Mcintosh, 2006. "Further Analysis of the Returns to Academic and Vocational Qualifications," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 68(2), pages 225-251, April.
    18. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
    19. Jonah E. Rockoff, 2004. "The Impact of Individual Teachers on Student Achievement: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 247-252, May.
    20. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-555, March.
    21. Lorraine Dearden & Carl Emmerson & Costas Meghir, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers and School Dropout Rates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(4).
    22. Paul T. Decker & Daniel P. Mayer & Steven Glazerman, "undated". "The Effects of Teach For America on Students: Findings from a National Evaluation (Working Paper)," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 0ff21c21c2694f8a921e5fcb8, Mathematica Policy Research.
    23. Simon Burgess, 2014. "Understanding the success of London’s schools," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 14/333, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    24. Hanushek, Eric A., 2011. "The economic value of higher teacher quality," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 466-479, June.
    25. David Austen-Smith & Roland G. Fryer, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of "Acting White"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 551-583.
    26. Philip Oreopoulos & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2011. "Priceless: The Nonpecuniary Benefits of Schooling," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 159-184, Winter.
    27. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2006. "Long-Term Educational Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 847-862, June.
    28. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy, 2009. "The Effects of High Stakes High School Achievement Awards: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1384-1414, September.
    29. Dolton, P J & Vignoles, A, 2002. "The Return on Post-compulsory School Mathematics Study," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(273), pages 113-141, February.
    30. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List & Susanne Neckermann & Sally Sadoff, 2016. "The Behavioralist Goes to School: Leveraging Behavioral Economics to Improve Educational Performance," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 183-219, November.
    31. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2009. "Incentives to Learn," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 437-456, August.
    32. Christiane Bradler & Robert Dur & Susanne Neckermann & Arjan Non, 2013. "Employee Recognition and Performance: A Field Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 4164, CESifo Group Munich.
    33. David Austen-Smith & Ronald G. Fryer, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of 'Acting White'," Discussion Papers 1399, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    34. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "A Little Now for a Lot Later: A Look at a Texas Advanced Placement Incentive Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
    35. Felipe Barrera-Osorio & Marianne Bertrand & Leigh L. Linden & Francisco Perez-Calle, 2011. "Improving the Design of Conditional Transfer Programs: Evidence from a Randomized Education Experiment in Colombia," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 167-195, April.
    36. Michael Kosfeld & Susanne Neckermann, 2011. "Getting More Work for Nothing? Symbolic Awards and Worker Performance," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 86-99, August.
    37. repec:hrv:faseco:30749606 is not listed on IDEAS
    38. Vilsa E. Curto & Roland G. Fryer Jr., 2014. "The Potential of Urban Boarding Schools for the Poor: Evidence from SEED," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 65-93.
    39. repec:mpr:mprres:4150 is not listed on IDEAS
    40. repec:feb:framed:0087 is not listed on IDEAS
    41. Roland G. Fryer, 2011. "Teacher Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from New York City Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 16850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    42. Eric P. Bettinger, 2012. "Paying to Learn: The Effect of Financial Incentives on Elementary School Test Scores," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 686-698, August.
    43. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Do dropouts drop out too soon? Wealth, health and happiness from compulsory schooling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2213-2229, December.
    44. repec:mpr:mprres:4012 is not listed on IDEAS
    45. Will Dobbie & Roland G. Fryer, 2011. "Are High-Quality Schools Enough to Increase Achievement among the Poor? Evidence from the Harlem Children's Zone," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 158-187, July.
    46. Helen Slater & Neil M. Davies & Simon Burgess, 2012. "Do Teachers Matter? Measuring the Variation in Teacher Effectiveness in England," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 74(5), pages 629-645, October.
    47. Philip Oreopoulos & Daniel Lang & Joshua Angrist, 2009. "Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 136-163, January.
    48. repec:bri:cmpowp:13/333 is not listed on IDEAS
    49. James Berry, 2015. "Child Control in Education Decisions: An Evaluation of Targeted Incentives to Learn in India," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(4), pages 1051-1080.
    50. Tran, Anh & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2012. "Rank as an inherent incentive: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 645-650.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bri:uobdis:16/678. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ben Auld). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/debriuk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.