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Incentives for Students: Evidence from Two Natural Experiments

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  • Philipp Beltz
  • Susanne Link
  • Andreas Ostermaier

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Philipp Beltz & Susanne Link & Andreas Ostermaier, 2012. "Incentives for Students: Evidence from Two Natural Experiments," ifo Working Paper Series 133, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_133
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/IfoWorkingPaper-133.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. 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.
    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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Chevalier, Arnaud & Dolton, Peter & Lührmann, Melanie, 2014. ""Making It Count": Evidence from a Field Study on Assessment Rules, Study Incentives and Student Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 8582, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Gabriel Felbermayr & Mario Larch & Wolfgang Lechthaler, 2012. "The Shimer-Puzzle of International Trade: A Quantitative Analysis," ifo Working Paper Series 134, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    3. Sandner, Malte, 2013. "Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of a Student Mentoring Program," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-512, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    4. Ostermaier, Andreas & Beltz, Philipp & Link, Susanne, 2013. "Do university policies matter? Effects of Course Policies on Performance," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79924, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Luehrmann, Melanie & Chevalier, Arnaud & Dolton, Peter, 2013. ""Making it count": Evidence from a Field Experiment on Assessment Rules, Study Incentives and Student Performance," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79795, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Performance; incentives; higher education; natural experiment; differencein- differences approach;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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