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Incentives for Students: Evidence from Two Natural Experiments

  • Philipp Beltz
  • Susanne Link
  • Andreas Ostermaier
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    Incentives are widely used to increase people’s effort and thus performance. Whileacademic achievement depends heavily on effort, there is little empirical evidence onhow students respond to incentives other than grades and monetary rewards. We drawon two natural experiments that occurred at a major European university and use thedifference-in-differences approach to show how program and course policies affect theeffort and performance of students. Our findings indicate that students perform worse(i) if their effort is rewarded belatedly, (ii) if their effort has little impact on their finalgrade, or (iii) if they may resit exams more often and thus less effort is required from them.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-Ifo_Working_Papers/wp-ifo-2012/IfoWorkingPaper-133.pdf
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    Paper provided by Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich in its series Ifo Working Paper Series with number Ifo Working Paper No. 133.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_133
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    1. 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.
    2. Scott E. Carrell & Marianne E. Page & James E. West, 2010. "Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1101-1144, August.
    3. Nicole Schneeweis, 2011. "Educational institutions and the integration of migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 1281-1308, October.
    4. Christopher Cornwell & David B. Mustard & Deepa J. Sridhar, 2006. "The Enrollment Effects of Merit-Based Financial Aid: Evidence from Georgia's HOPE Program," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 761-786, October.
    5. Durden, Garey C & Ellis, Larry V, 1995. "The Effects of Attendance on Student Learning in Principles of Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 343-46, May.
    6. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List & Susanne Neckermann & Sally Sadoff, 2012. "The Behavioralist Goes to School: Leveraging Behavioral Economics to Improve Educational Performance," NBER Working Papers 18165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2001. "Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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