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Monetary Incentives And Student Achievement In A Depressed Labour Market: Results From A Randomized Experiment


  • Maria De Paola


  • Vincenzo Scoppa


  • Rosanna Nisticò

    () (Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica, Università della Calabria)


In this paper we carry out an evaluation of the effectiveness of monetary incentives in enhancing student performance using a randomized experiment involving undergraduate students enrolled at a Southern Italian University. Students participating at the experiment were assigned to three different groups: a high reward group, a low reward group and a control group. Rewards were assigned following a tournament rule to the 30 best performing students in each treated group. Findings suggest that financial rewards increase student performance both in terms of number of credits earned and grades obtained at exams. High ability students react strongly while the effect is null for low ability students. When the “intention-to-treat” effects are adjusted for non-participation using IV, it emerges a stronger impact of the treatment on student performance.

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  • Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa & Rosanna Nisticò, 2010. "Monetary Incentives And Student Achievement In A Depressed Labour Market: Results From A Randomized Experiment," Working Papers 201006, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
  • Handle: RePEc:clb:wpaper:201006

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hakimov, Rustamdjan, 2016. "Contests at the workplace with and without prize selection: Testing theory in a field experiment," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2016-211, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    2. Joshua Angrist & Philip Oreopoulos & Tyler Williams, 2014. "When Opportunity Knocks, Who Answers?: New Evidence on College Achievement Awards," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(3), pages 572-610.
    3. Adam M. Lavecchia & Heidi Liu & Philip Oreopoulos, 2014. "Behavioral Economics of Education: Progress and Possibilities," NBER Working Papers 20609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Dan Kovenock & Roman Sheremeta, 2015. "A survey of experimental research on contests, all-pay auctions and tournaments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(4), pages 609-669, December.
    5. Bigoni Maria & Fort Margherita & Nardotto Mattia & Reggiani Tommaso G., 2015. "Cooperation or Competition? A Field Experiment on Non-monetary Learning Incentives," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(4), pages 1753-1792, October.
    6. V. Rattini, 2014. "The Causal Effect of Scholarships Targeted at Low Income Students on Performance: Evidence from Italy," Working Papers wp968, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    7. Sandner, Malte, 2013. "Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of a Student Mentoring Program," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-512, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    8. Steven Levitt & John List & Sally Sadoff, 2016. "The Effect of Performance-Based Incentives on Educational Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00585, The Field Experiments Website.
    9. Maria De Paola & Francesca Gioia & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2016. "The Adverse Consequences Of Tournaments: Evidence From A Field Experiment," Working Papers 201607, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    10. Brunello, Giorgio & De Paola, Maria, 2013. "The Costs of Early School Leaving in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 7791, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Maria Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2014. "The effectiveness of remedial courses in Italy: a fuzzy regression discontinuity design," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(2), pages 365-386, April.
    12. Mette Trier Damgaard & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 2017. "Nudging in education," Economics Working Papers 2017-05, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    13. Loris Vergolini & Nadir Zanini & Nicola Bazoli, 2014. "Liquidity Constraints and University Participation in Times of Recession. Evidence from a Small-scale Programme," FBK-IRVAPP Working Papers 2014-11, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (IRVAPP), Bruno Kessler Foundation.

    More about this item


    Education Production Function; Student Effort; Incentives; Merit Scholarship; Higher Education; Randomized Evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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