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When Opportunity Knocks, Who Answers? New Evidence on College Achievement Awards

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  • Joshua Angrist
  • Philip Oreopoulos
  • Tyler Williams

Abstract

We evaluate the effects of academic achievement awards for first and second-year college students on a Canadian commuter campus. The award scheme offered linear cash incentives for course grades above 70. Awards were paid every term. Program participants also had access to peer advising by upperclassmen. Program engagement appears to have been high but overall treatment effects were small. The intervention increased the number of courses graded above 70 and points earned above 70 for second-year students, but there was no significant effect on overall GPA. Results are somewhat stronger for a subsample that correctly described the program rules. We argue that these results fit in with an emerging picture of mostly modest effects for cash award programs of this type at the post-secondary level.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Angrist & Philip Oreopoulos & Tyler Williams, 2010. "When Opportunity Knocks, Who Answers? New Evidence on College Achievement Awards," NBER Working Papers 16643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16643 Note: CH ED LS PE
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    Cited by:

    1. Åslund, Olof & Engdahl, Mattias, 2012. "The value of earning for learning: Performance bonuses in immigrant language training," Working Paper Series 2013:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    2. Paloyo, Alfredo R. & Rogan, Sally & Siminski, Peter, 2016. "The effect of supplemental instruction on academic performance: An encouragement design experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 57-69.
    3. Ellis, Jimmy R. & Gershenson, Seth, 2016. "LATE for the Meeting: Gender, Peer Advising, and College Success," IZA Discussion Papers 9956, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Conger, Dylan & Turner, Lesley J., 2017. "The effect of price shocks on undocumented students' college attainment and completion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 92-114.
    5. Adam M. Lavecchia & Heidi Liu & Philip Oreopoulos, 2014. "Behavioral Economics of Education: Progress and Possibilities," NBER Working Papers 20609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Chevalier, Arnaud & Dolton, Peter & Lührmann, Melanie, 2014. ""Making It Count": Evidence from a Field Study on Assessment Rules, Study Incentives and Student Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 8582, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Aslund, Olof & Engdahl, Mattias, 2012. "The Value of Earning for Learning: Performance Bonuses in Immigrant Language Training," IZA Discussion Papers 7118, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Uwe DUlleck & Juliana Silva-Goncalves & Benno Torgler, 2014. "Impact Evaluation of an Incentive Program on Educational Achievement of Indigenous Students," QuBE Working Papers 026, QUT Business School.
    9. Carter, Susan Payne & Greenberg, Kyle & Walker, Michael S., 2017. "The impact of computer usage on academic performance: Evidence from a randomized trial at the United States Military Academy," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 118-132.
    10. Mette Trier Damgaard & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 2017. "Nudging in education," Economics Working Papers 2017-05, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    11. Marianne Bernatzky & José María Cabrera & Alejandro Cid, 2014. "Gender & High Frequency vs. Low Frequency tasks in a context of Joint-Liability Incentives," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1405, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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