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The Effect of Financial Rewards on Students' Achievements: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment

  • Leuven, Edwin
  • Oosterbeek, Hessel
  • van der Klaauw, Bas

This Paper reports a randomized field experiment in which first year economics and business students at the University of Amsterdam could earn financial rewards for passing all first year requirements before the start of their second academic year. Participants were assigned to a high reward group, a low reward group or a no reward (control) group. Overall, the passing rate and the numbers of collected credit point are not significantly different across the three groups. The same is true for the reported amounts of study time. We find, however, some evidence of heterogenous treatment effects. In particular, students with high maths skills and students with higher educated fathers have higher passing rates and collect more credit points when assigned to (higher) reward groups. While reported study time for these groups is not affected by treatment status, these students claim that they have studied harder as a consequence of the rewards.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3921.

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Date of creation: Jun 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3921
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  1. Bas van der Klaauw & Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2006. "The effect of financial rewards on students' achievement: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Artefactual Field Experiments 00078, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Kremer, Michael R. & Miguel, Edward & Thornton, Rebecca, 2009. "Incentives to Learn," Scholarly Articles 3716457, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Erica Field, 2006. "Educational Debt Burden and Career Choice: Evidence from a Financial Aid Experiment at NYU Law School," NBER Working Papers 12282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Tomas Philipson, 1999. "External Treatment Effects and Program Implementation Bias," Working Papers 9929, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  5. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2002. "Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1535-1558, December.
  6. Angrist, Joshua & Lavy, Victor, 2002. "The Effect of High School Matriculation Awards: Evidence from Randomized Trials," CEPR Discussion Papers 3827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1999. "General Equilibrium Cost Benefit Analysis of Education and Tax Policies," NBER Working Papers 6881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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