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Tuition Fees as a Commitment Device

Author

Listed:
  • Ketel, Nadine

    () (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

  • Linde, Jona

    () (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

  • Oosterbeek, Hessel

    () (University of Amsterdam)

  • van der Klaauw, Bas

    () (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Abstract

This paper reports on a field experiment testing for sunk-cost effects in an education setting. Students signing up for extra-curricular tutorial sessions randomly received a discount on the tuition fee. The sunk-cost effect predicts that students who receive larger discounts will attend fewer tutorial sessions. For the full sample, we find little support for this hypothesis, but we find a significant effect of sunk costs on attendance for the 45% of students in our sample who are categorized as sunk-cost prone based on hypothetical survey questions. For them higher tuition fees can serve as a commitment device to attend classes.

Suggested Citation

  • Ketel, Nadine & Linde, Jona & Oosterbeek, Hessel & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2014. "Tuition Fees as a Commitment Device," IZA Discussion Papers 7951, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7951
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    sunk-cost effect; higher education; field experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid

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