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Incentives for Students: Evidence from Two Natural Experiments

Listed author(s):
  • Philipp Beltz
  • Susanne Link
  • Andreas Ostermaier

Incentives are widely used to increase people’s effort and thus performance. While academic achievement depends heavily on effort, there is little empirical evidence on how students respond to incentives other than grades and monetary rewards. We draw on two natural experiments that occurred at a major European university and use the difference-in-differences approach to show how program and course policies affect the effort 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 final grade, 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/DocDL/IfoWorkingPaper-133.pdf
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Paper provided by ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich in its series ifo Working Paper Series with number 133.

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Date of creation: 2012
Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_133
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  1. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1101-1144.
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  3. 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.
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  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 343-346, May.
  6. 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.
  7. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule to Estimate the Effect of Class Size on Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575.
  8. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
  9. Nicole Schneeweis, 2011. "Educational institutions and the integration of migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(4), pages 1281-1308, October.
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