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Soft Commitments, Reminders and Academic Performance

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  • Himmler, Oliver
  • Jaeckle, Robert
  • Weinschenk, Philipp

Abstract

A large share of students in higher education graduates with delay or fails to obtain a degree at all. In our field experiment, students can sign a non-binding agreement and self-commit to staying on track for graduation. We provide first evidence that soft commitment devices can enhance educational progress and -- more generally -- improve the completion of complex tasks such as passing exams. A pure reminder treatment does not change behavior, suggesting that the effects are not driven by increased salience. As predicted by a simple decision model, we show that procrastinators benefit most from the soft commitment device.

Suggested Citation

  • Himmler, Oliver & Jaeckle, Robert & Weinschenk, Philipp, 2017. "Soft Commitments, Reminders and Academic Performance," MPRA Paper 76832, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:76832
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bisin, Alberto & Hyndman, Kyle, 2020. "Present-bias, procrastination and deadlines in a field experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 339-357.
    2. Wolter, Stefan C. & Zumbühl, Maria, 2017. "The Native-Migrant Gap in the Progression into and through Upper-Secondary Education," IZA Discussion Papers 11217, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Koch, Alexander K. & Nafziger, Julia, 2020. "Motivational goal bracketing: An experiment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 185(C).
    4. Stefan C. Wolter & Maria Zumbuehl, 2017. "The native-migrant gap in the progression into and through upper-secondary education," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0139, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    5. Brade, Raphael & Himmler, Oliver & Jäckle, Robert, 2018. "Normatively Framed Relative Performance Feedback – Field Experiment and Replication," MPRA Paper 88830, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Commitment Device; Reminder; Procrastination; Education; Field Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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