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Productivity Versus Motivation in Adolescent Human Capital Production: Evidence from a Structurally-Motivated Field Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher Cotton
  • Brent Hickman
  • John List
  • Joseph Price
  • Sutanuka Roy

Abstract

We conduct a field experiment across three diverse school districts to structurally identify student motivation and study productivity parameters in a model of adolescent human capital development. By observing study time, homework task completion, and test results, we can identify individual and demographic variations in motivation and study time effectiveness. Struggling students typically do not lack motivation but rather struggle to convert study time into completed assignments and proficiency improvements. The study also attending a higher-performing school is associated with both higher productivity and higher motivation relative to peers with similar observables in lower-performing schools. Counterfactual analyses estimates that school quality differences account for a substantial share of the racial differences in test scores, and considers the impact of alternative policies aimed at reducing racial performance gaps.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Cotton & Brent Hickman & John List & Joseph Price & Sutanuka Roy, 2023. "Productivity Versus Motivation in Adolescent Human Capital Production: Evidence from a Structurally-Motivated Field Experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00719, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:framed:00719
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    Cited by:

    1. John A. List & Fatemeh Momeni & Yves Zenou, 2020. "The Social Side of Early Human Capital Formation: Using a Field Experiment to Estimate the Causal Impact of Neighborhoods," Working Papers 2020-187, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    2. Burgess, Simon & Metcalfe, Robert & Sadoff, Sally, 2021. "Understanding the response to financial and non-financial incentives in education: Field experimental evidence using high-stakes assessments," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 85(C).
    3. Chuan, Amanda & List, John & Samek, Anya, 2021. "Do financial incentives aimed at decreasing interhousehold inequality increase intrahousehold inequality?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 196(C).
    4. Lenka Fiala & John Eric Humphries & Juanna Schr√łter Joensen & Uditi Karna & John A. List & Gregory F. Veramendi, 2022. "How Early Adolescent Skills and Preferences Shape Economics Education Choices," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 112, pages 609-613, May.
    5. John A. List & Ian Muir & Gregory K. Sun, 2022. "Using Machine Learning for Efficient Flexible Regression Adjustment in Economic Experiments," NBER Working Papers 30756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. John A. List & Fatemeh Momeni & Yves Zenou, 2020. "The Social Side of Early Human Capital Formation: Using a Field Experiment to Estimate the Causal Impact of Neighborhoods," Working Papers 2020-187, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    7. Marco Castillo & John A. List & Ragan Petrie & Anya Samek, 2020. "Detecting Drivers of Behavior at an Early Age: Evidence from a Longitudinal Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 28288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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