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Rise to the Challenge or Not Give a Damn: Differential Performance in High vs. Low Stakes Tests

Author

Listed:
  • Attali, Yigal

    () (ETS)

  • Neeman, Zvika

    () (Tel Aviv University)

  • Schlosser, Analia

    () (Tel Aviv University)

Abstract

This paper studies how different demographic groups respond to incentives by comparing performance in the GRE examination in "high" and "low" stakes situations. The high stakes situation is the real GRE examination and the low stakes situation is a voluntary experimental section of the GRE that examinees were invited to take immediately after they finished the real GRE exam. We show that males exhibit a larger difference in performance between the high and low stakes examinations than females, and that Whites exhibit a larger difference in performance between the high and low stakes examinations relative to Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics. We find that the larger differential performance between high and low stakes tests among men and whites can be partially explained by the lower level of effort invested by these groups in the low stake test.

Suggested Citation

  • Attali, Yigal & Neeman, Zvika & Schlosser, Analia, 2011. "Rise to the Challenge or Not Give a Damn: Differential Performance in High vs. Low Stakes Tests," IZA Discussion Papers 5693, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5693
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeffrey A. Flory & Andreas Leibbrandt & John A. List, 2015. "Do Competitive Workplaces Deter Female Workers? A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment on Job Entry Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(1), pages 122-155.
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    Cited by:

    1. Uri Gneezy & John List & Jeffrey Livingston & Xiangdong Qin & Sally Sadoff & Yang Xu, 2017. "Measuring success in education: the role of effort on the test itself," Framed Field Experiments 00614, The Field Experiments Website.
    2. Cortes, Patricia & Pan, Jessica, 2017. "Occupation and Gender," IZA Discussion Papers 10672, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Jalava, Nina & Joensen, Juanna Schrøter & Pellas, Elin, 2015. "Grades and rank: Impacts of non-financial incentives on test performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 161-196.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender; competition; incentives; GRE; high stakes; low stakes; test score gap;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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