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Ever Failed, Try Again, Succeed Better: Results from a Randomized Educational Intervention on Grit

Author

Listed:
  • Sule Alan

    () (University of Essex)

  • Teodora Boneva

    (University of Cambridge)

  • Seda Ertac

    () (Koc University)

Abstract

We show that grit, a non-cognitive skill that has been shown to be highly predictive of achievement, is malleable in the childhood period and can be fostered in the classroom environment. Our evidence comes from an evaluation of a randomized educational intervention implemented in elementary schools in Istanbul. Outcomes are measured via a novel incentivized real effort task and actual school grades on core subjects. We find that treated students are 1) more likely to choose to undertake a more challenging and more rewarding task against an easier but less rewarding alternative, 2) less likely to give up after failure, 3) more likely to exert effort to accumulate task-specific ability, and consequently, 4) more likely to succeed and collect higher payoffs. The intervention also has a significant impact on school grades: We find that treated students are about 3 percentage points more likely to receive top grades in core academic subjects.

Suggested Citation

  • Sule Alan & Teodora Boneva & Seda Ertac, 2015. "Ever Failed, Try Again, Succeed Better: Results from a Randomized Educational Intervention on Grit," Working Papers 2015-009, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2015-009
    Note: IP
    as

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    File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Alan_Boneva_Ertac_2015_grit.pdf
    File Function: First version, April 2015
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    5. Tim Kautz & James J. Heckman & Ron Diris & Bas ter Weel & Lex Borghans, 2014. "Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success," OECD Education Working Papers 110, OECD Publishing.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Humphries, John Eric & Kosse, Fabian, 2017. "On the interpretation of non-cognitive skills – What is being measured and why it matters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 174-185.
    2. Teodora Boneva & Christopher Rauh, 2018. "Parental Beliefs about Returns to Educational Investments—The Later the Better?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(6), pages 1669-1711.
    3. Leonie & Christina Gravert, 2015. "Grit Trumps Talent? An experimental approach," Economics Working Papers 2015-18, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    non-cognitive skills; grit; perseverance; field experiments; randomized interventions;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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