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Unintended Negative Consequences of Rewards for Student Attendance: Results from a Field Experiment in Indian Classrooms

Author

Listed:
  • Melody M. Chao

    (Department of Management, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

  • Rajeev Dehejia

    (Wagner School of Public Policy, New York University)

  • Anirban Mukhopadhyay

    (Department of Marketing, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

  • Sujata Visaria

    (Department of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
    Institute for Emerging Market Studies, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Abstract

In an experiment in non-formal schools in Indian slums, an incentive for attending a target number of school days increased average attendance when the incentive was in place, but had heterogeneous effects after it was removed. Among students with high baseline attendance, the post-incentive attendance returned to previous levels and test scores were unaffected. Among students with low baseline attendance, post-incentive attendance dropped even below previous levels, and test scores decreased. These students also reported lower interest in school material and lower expectations of themselves. Thus incentives might have unintended negative consequences in the long term for the very students they are most expected to help.

Suggested Citation

  • Melody M. Chao & Rajeev Dehejia & Anirban Mukhopadhyay & Sujata Visaria, 2015. "Unintended Negative Consequences of Rewards for Student Attendance: Results from a Field Experiment in Indian Classrooms," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2015-22, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Apr 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:hku:wpaper:201522
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Guryan, Jonathan & Kim, James S. & Park, Kyung H., 2016. "Motivation and incentives in education: Evidence from a summer reading experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 1-20.
    2. Jason T. Kerwin & Rebecca L. Thornton, 2021. "Making the Grade: The Sensitivity of Education Program Effectiveness to Input Choices and Outcome Measures," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 103(2), pages 251-264, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    educational economics; incentives; attendance; motivation; experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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