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Understanding the Response to High-Stakes Incentives in Primary Education

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  • Bach, Maximilian

    (ZEW Mannheim)

  • Fischer, Mira

    (WZB Berlin)

Abstract

This paper studies responses to high-stakes incentives arising from early ability tracking. We use three complementary research designs exploiting differences in school track admission rules at the end of primary school in Germany’s early ability tracking system. Our results show that the need to perform well to qualify for a better track raises students’ math, reading, listening, and orthography skills in grade 4, the final grade before students are sorted into tracks. Evidence from self-reported behavior suggests that these effects are driven by greater study effort but not parental responses. However, we also observe that stronger incentives decrease student well-being and intrinsic motivation to study.

Suggested Citation

  • Bach, Maximilian & Fischer, Mira, 2020. "Understanding the Response to High-Stakes Incentives in Primary Education," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 261, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
  • Handle: RePEc:rco:dpaper:261
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    Cited by:

    1. Bach, Maximilian, 2021. "Heterogeneous responses to school track choice: Evidence from the repeal of binding track recommendations," ZEW Discussion Papers 21-104, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    2. Angerer, Silvia & Bolvashenkova, Jana & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela & Lergetporer, Philipp & Sutter, Matthias, 2021. "Children's Patience and School-Track Choices Several Years Later: Linking Experimental and Field Data," IZA Discussion Papers 14401, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Angerer, Silvia & Bolvashenkova, Jana & Glätzle-Rützler, Daniela & Lergetporer, Philipp & Sutter, Matthias, 2023. "Children’s patience and school-track choices several years later: Linking experimental and field data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 220(C).
    4. Heisig, Jan Paul & Matthewes, Sönke Hendrik, 2021. "No evidence for positive effects of strict tracking and cognitive homogenization on student performance: A critical reanalysis of Esser and Seuring (2020)," SocArXiv x92mg, Center for Open Science.
    5. Heisig, Jan Paul & Matthewes, Sönke Hendrik, 2022. "No Evidence that Strict Educational Tracking Improves Student Performance through Classroom Homogeneity: A Critical Reanalysis of Esser and Seuring (2020) [Keine Belege für leistungsfördernde Effek," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 51(1), pages 99-111.
    6. Osikominu, Aderonke & Pfeifer, Gregor & Strohmaier, Kristina, 2021. "The Effects of Free Secondary School Track Choice: A Disaggregated Synthetic Control Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 14033, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Elisabeth Grewenig, 2021. "School Track Decisions and Teacher Recommendations: Evidence from German State Reforms," ifo Working Paper Series 353, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    8. Helbig, Marcel & Sendzik, Norbert, 2022. "What Drives Regional Disparities in Educational Expansion: School Reform, Modernization, or Social Structure?," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 12(3), pages 1-1.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    student effort; tracking; incentives;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • I29 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Other

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