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Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial

  • Angrist, Joshua

    ()

    (MIT)

  • Lang, Daniel W.

    ()

    (University of Toronto)

  • Oreopoulos, Philip

    ()

    (University of Toronto)

Many North American college students have trouble satisfying degree requirements in a timely manner. This paper reports on a randomized field experiment involving two strategies designed to improve academic performance among entering full-time undergraduates at a large Canadian university. One treatment group (“services”) was offered peer advising and organized study groups. Another (“incentives”) was offered substantial merit-scholarships for solid, but not necessarily top, first year grades. A third treatment group combined both interventions. Service take-up rates were much higher for women than for men and for students offered both services and incentives than for those offered services alone. No program had an effect on men’s grades or other measures of academic performance. However, the Fall and first-year grades of women in the combined group were significantly higher than those of women in the control group, and women in this group earned more course credits and were less likely than controls to be on academic probation. These differentials persisted through the end of the second year, in spite of the fact that incentives were given in the first year only. The results suggest that the study skills acquired in response to a combination of services and incentives can have a lasting effect, and that the combination of services and incentives is more promising than either alone.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp3134.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3134.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2009, 1(1), 136–63.
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3134
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  13. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  18. Sergio Firpo, 2004. "Efficient Semiparametric Estimation of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 605, Econometric Society.
  19. Philip Oreopoulos & Daniel Lang & Joshua Angrist, 2009. "Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 136-63, January.
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  21. Leuven, Edwin & Oosterbeek, Hessel & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2003. "The Effect of Financial Rewards on Students' Achievements: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 3921, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
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  25. Susan Clampet-Lundquist & J. Greg Duncan & Kathryn Edin & Jeffrey R. Kling, 2006. "Moving At-Risk Teenagers Out of High-Risk Neighborhoods: Why Girls Fare Better Than Boys," Working Papers 888, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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  28. Zeman, Klarka & Frenette, Marc, 2007. "Why Are Most University Students Women? Evidence Based on Academic Performance, Study Habits and Parental Influences," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2007303e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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