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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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  1. Christopher Cornwell & David B. Mustard & Deepa J. Sridhar, 2006. "The Enrollment Effects of Merit-Based Financial Aid: Evidence from Georgia's HOPE Program," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 761-786, October.
  2. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 2002. "The Effect of High School Matriculation Awards: Evidence from Randomized Trials," NBER Working Papers 9389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kane, Thomas J & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1995. "Labor-Market Returns to Two- and Four-Year College," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 600-614, June.
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  5. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2005. "Targeted Remedial Education for Underperforming Teenagers: Costs and Benefits," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 839-874, October.
  6. Dynarski, Susan, 2002. "The Consequences of Merit Aid," Working Paper Series rwp02-051, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  7. 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.
  8. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Using Expectations Data to Study Subjective Income Expectations," Econometrics 9411003, EconWPA.
  9. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  10. Frölich, Markus & Melly, Blaise, 2008. "Unconditional Quantile Treatment Effects under Endogeneity," IZA Discussion Papers 3288, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 2004. "A Dual Self Model of Impulse Control," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2049, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," NBER Working Papers 12139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Do dropouts drop out too soon? Wealth, health and happiness from compulsory schooling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2213-2229, December.
  14. Joshua Angrist, 1988. "Grouped Data Estimation and Testing in Simple Labor Supply Models," Working Papers 614, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  15. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  16. Kremer, Michael R. & Miguel, Edward & Thornton, Rebecca, 2009. "Incentives to Learn," Scholarly Articles 3716457, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "A Little Now for a Lot Later: A Look at a Texas Advanced Placement Incentive Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
  18. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
  19. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
  20. Dynarski, Susan, 2005. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," Working Paper Series rwp05-050, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  21. 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.
  22. Michael Anderson, 2005. "Uncovering Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," HEW 0509008, EconWPA, revised 26 Sep 2005.
  23. Sergio Firpo, 2004. "Efficient Semiparametric Estimation of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 605, Econometric Society.
  24. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2001. "Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2005. "Addressing the Needs of Under-Prepared Students in Higher Education: Does College Remediation Work?," NBER Working Papers 11325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. 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..
  27. 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.
  28. Joshua Angrist & Daniel Lang & Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Lead Them to Water and Pay Them to Drink: An Experiment with Services and Incentives for College Achievement," NBER Working Papers 12790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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