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Incentives to Learn

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  • Kremer, Michael Robert
  • Miguel, Edward A.
  • Thorton, Rebecca L

Abstract

We report results from a randomized evaluation of a merit scholarship program for adolescent girls in Kenya. Girls who scored well on academic exams had their school fees paid and received a cash grant for school supplies. Girls eligible for the scholarship showed significant gains in academic exam scores (average gain 0.12-0.19 standard deviations) and these gains persisted following the competition. There is also evidence of positive program externalities on learning: boys, who were ineligible for the awards, also showed sizeable average test gains, as did girls with low pretest scores, who were unlikely to win. Both student and teacher school attendance increased in the program schools. We discuss implications both for understanding the nature of educational production functions and for the policy debate surrounding merit scholarships.

Suggested Citation

  • Kremer, Michael Robert & Miguel, Edward A. & Thorton, Rebecca L, 2004. "Incentives to Learn," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt9kc4p47q, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt9kc4p47q
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    Cited by:

    1. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2007. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1235-1264.
    2. Rafael Lalive & M. Alejandra Cattaneo, 2009. "Social Interactions and Schooling Decisions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 457-477, August.
    3. Dee, Thomas S., 2011. "Conditional cash penalties in education: Evidence from the Learnfare experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 924-937, October.
    4. Patrick GUILLAUMONT, 2009. "Aid effectiveness for poverty reduction: macroeconomic overview and emerging issues," Working Papers P05, FERDI.
    5. Piero Cipollone & Alfonso Rosolia, 2007. "Social Interactions in High School: Lessons from an Earthquake," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 948-965, June.
    6. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," Handbook of Development Economics, in: T. Paul Schultz & John A. Strauss (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 61, pages 3895-3962, Elsevier.
    7. Eric Bettinger, 2005. "Lessons from private-school vouchers in Columbia," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 5-8.
    8. 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.
    9. Eric A. Hanushek, 2008. "Incentives for Efficiency and Equity in the School System," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9(s1), pages 5-27, May.
    10. Rajan, Raghuram G. & Subramanian, Arvind, 2011. "Aid, Dutch disease, and manufacturing growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 106-118, January.
    11. Glewwe, Paul & Kremer, Michael, 2006. "Schools, Teachers, and Education Outcomes in Developing Countries," Handbook of the Economics of Education, in: Erik Hanushek & F. Welch (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 16, pages 945-1017, Elsevier.
    12. Levitt, Steven D. & List, John A., 2009. "Field experiments in economics: The past, the present, and the future," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-18, January.
    13. List John A., 2007. "Field Experiments: A Bridge between Lab and Naturally Occurring Data," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-47, April.
    14. Martina Björkman, 2007. "Does Money Matter for Student Performance? Evidence from a Grant Program in Uganda," Working Papers 326, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    15. 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.
    16. Vidya Atal & Kaushik Basu & John Gray & Travis Lee, 2010. "Literacy traps: Society‐wide education and individual skill premia," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 6(1), pages 137-148, March.
    17. Caren A. Grown, 2006. "Quick Impact Initiatives For Gender Equality: A Menu of Options," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_462, Levy Economics Institute.
    18. Glick, Peter, 2008. "What Policies will Reduce Gender Schooling Gaps in Developing Countries: Evidence and Interpretation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1623-1646, September.
    19. World Bank, . "A Review of the Bulgaria School Autonomy Reforms," World Bank Other Operational Studies, The World Bank, number 13040, April.
    20. Joshua Angrist & Daniel Lang & Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Lead Them to Water and Pay Them to Drink: An Experiment with Services and Incentives for College Achievement," NBER Working Papers 12790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Erik Canton & Andreas Blom, 2010. "Student support and academic performance: experiences at private universities in Mexico," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 49-65.

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