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Peers or parents? On non-monetary incentives in schools

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  • Wagner, Valentin
  • Riener, Gerhard

Abstract

This paper presents the result of a field experiment on the effectiveness of non-monetary incentives on pupils' achievement on a mathematical multiple choice test. Our sample consists of 2113 pupils of deprived and high-achieving secondary schools in Germany. Based on a pre-study, we compare the effectiveness of (i) a medal (ii) a letter of praise to the parents and (iii) a delegation of choice over incentives. The effect of non-monetary incentives depends on pupils' socio-economic background. While they constitute a potentially cost-effective and easily implementable method of motivation in Non-High Schools, predetermined non-monetary incentives crowd out intrinsic motivation for pupils in High Schools. In contrast, the endogenous choice of the reward increases pupils' willingness to prepare for the test and mitigates the negative effect of predetermined external rewards in High Schools. Additionally, in the delegation treatment, we find that low-achieving pupils typically choose a reward with a higher signaling value to their parents, independent of the school type.

Suggested Citation

  • Wagner, Valentin & Riener, Gerhard, 2015. "Peers or parents? On non-monetary incentives in schools," DICE Discussion Papers 203, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:dicedp:203
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    Cited by:

    1. Damgaard, Mette Trier & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2018. "Nudging in education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 313-342.
    2. Gerhard Riener & Sebastian Schneider & Valentin Wagner, 2020. "Addressing Validity and Generalizability Concerns in Field Experiments," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2020_16, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    3. Burgess, Simon & Metcalfe, Robert & Sadoff, Sally, 2021. "Understanding the response to financial and non-financial incentives in education: Field experimental evidence using high-stakes assessments," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 85(C).
    4. Céline Bonnet & Jan Philip Schain, 2020. "An Empirical Analysis Of Mergers: Efficiency Gains And Impact On Consumer Prices," Journal of Competition Law and Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-35.
    5. Wagner, Valentin, 2016. "Seeking risk or answering smart? Framing in elementary schools," DICE Discussion Papers 227, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    6. Wagner, Valentin, 2016. "Seeking Risk or Answering Smart? Experimental Evidence on Framing Effects in Elementary Schools," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145678, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Riener, Gerhard & Wagner, Valentin, 2017. "Shying away from demanding tasks? Experimental evidence on gender differences in answering multiple-choice questions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 43-62.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    non-monetary incentives; field experiment; education; incentive choice; effort; socio-economic background;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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