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Paying to Learn: The Effect of Financial Incentives on Elementary School Test Scores

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  • Eric P. Bettinger

Abstract

Policymakers and academics are increasingly interested in applying financial incentives to individuals in education. This paper presents evidence from a pay for performance program taking place in Coshocton, Ohio. Since 2004, Coshocton has provided cash payments to students in grades three through six for successful completion of their standardized testing. Coshocton determined eligibility for the program using randomization, and using this randomization, this paper identifies the effects of the program on students' academic behavior. We find that math scores improved about 0.15 standard deviations but that reading, social science, and science test scores did not improve.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric P. Bettinger, 2010. "Paying to Learn: The Effect of Financial Incentives on Elementary School Test Scores," NBER Working Papers 16333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16333
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2009. "Incentives to Learn," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 437-456, August.
    2. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy, 2009. "The Effects of High Stakes High School Achievement Awards: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1384-1414, September.
    3. Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2010. "Financial Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from Randomized Trials," NBER Working Papers 15898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. William T. Harbaugh & Kate Krause, 2001. "Economic Experiments That You Can Perform At Home On Your Children," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 1999-1, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 19 Mar 1999.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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