IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/zbw/glodps/675.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Nudging Demand for Academic Support Services: Experimental and Structural Evidence from Higher Education

Author

Listed:
  • Pugatch, Todd
  • Wilson, Nicholas

Abstract

More than two of every five students who enroll in college fail to graduate within six years. Prior research has identified ineffective study habits as a major barrier to success. We conducted a randomized controlled advertising experiment designed to increase demand for academic support services among more than 2,100 students at a large U.S. public university. Our results reveal several striking findings. First, the intervention shifted proxies of student attention, such as opening emails and self-reported awareness of service availability. However, the experimental variation indicates that approximately one-third of students are never attentive to student services. Second, advertising increased the use of extra practice problems, but did not affect take-up of tutoring and coaching, the other two services. Structural estimates suggest that transaction costs well in excess of plausible opportunity costs explain the differences in service use. Third, the characteristics of advertising messages matter. Several common nudging techniques—such as text messages, lottery-based economic incentives, and repeated messages—either had no effect or in some cases reduced the effectiveness of messaging.

Suggested Citation

  • Pugatch, Todd & Wilson, Nicholas, 2020. "Nudging Demand for Academic Support Services: Experimental and Structural Evidence from Higher Education," GLO Discussion Paper Series 675, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:675
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/224509/1/GLO-DP-0675.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stinebrickner Ralph & Stinebrickner Todd R., 2008. "The Causal Effect of Studying on Academic Performance," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-55, June.
    2. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-1177, September.
    3. Kalena E. Cortes & Hans D.U. Fricke & Susanna Loeb & David S. Song & Benjamin N. York, 2019. "When Behavioral Barriers are Too High or Low – How Timing Matters for Parenting Interventions," NBER Working Papers 25964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Nicola Lacetera & Devin G. Pope & Justin R. Sydnor, 2012. "Heuristic Thinking and Limited Attention in the Car Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2206-2236, August.
    5. Todd Pugatch & Elizabeth Schroeder, 2021. "Promoting Female Interest in Economics: Limits to Nudges," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 111, pages 123-127, May.
    6. Dmitry Taubinsky & Alex Rees-Jones, 2018. "Attention Variation and Welfare: Theory and Evidence from a Tax Salience Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(4), pages 2462-2496.
    7. Philip Oreopoulos & Daniel Lang & Joshua Angrist, 2009. "Incentives and Services for College Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 136-163, January.
    8. Philip Oreopoulos & Uros Petronijevic, 2018. "Student Coaching: How Far Can Technology Go?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 53(2), pages 299-329.
    9. 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.
    10. Hunt Allcott & Nathan Wozny, 2014. "Gasoline Prices, Fuel Economy, and the Energy Paradox," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(5), pages 779-795, December.
    11. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    12. Jason M. Lindo & Isaac D. Swensen & Glen R. Waddell, 2012. "Are Big-Time Sports a Threat to Student Achievement?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 254-274, October.
    13. Lisa Barrow & Cecilia Elena Rouse & Amanda McFarland, 2020. "Who Has the Time? Community College Students’ Time-Use Response to Financial Incentives," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 48(1), pages 35-52, March.
    14. Hossain Tanjim & Morgan John, 2006. "...Plus Shipping and Handling: Revenue (Non) Equivalence in Field Experiments on eBay," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-30, January.
    15. Cortes, Kalena E. & Fricke, Hans & Loeb, Susanna & Song, David S., 2018. "Too Little or Too Much? Actionable Advice in an Early-Childhood Text Messaging Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 11669, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. List, John A. & Livingston, Jeffrey A. & Neckermann, Susanne, 2018. "Do financial incentives crowd out intrinsic motivation to perform on standardized tests?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 125-136.
    17. Raj Chetty, 2009. "The Simple Economics of Salience and Taxation," NBER Working Papers 15246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Gordanier, John & Hauk, William & Sankaran, Chandini, 2019. "Early intervention in college classes and improved student outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 23-29.
    19. Keith Marzilli Ericson, 2017. "On the Interaction of Memory and Procrastination: Implications for Reminders, Deadlines, and Empirical Estimation," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 692-719.
    20. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Xavier Gabaix, 2017. "Behavioral Inattention," NBER Working Papers 24096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Pugatch, Todd & Wilson, Nicholas, 2018. "Nudging study habits: A field experiment on peer tutoring in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 151-161.
    3. Kenneth Gillingham & Karen Palmer, 2014. "Bridging the Energy Efficiency Gap: Policy Insights from Economic Theory and Empirical Evidence," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 8(1), pages 18-38, January.
    4. Emmanuel Farhi & Xavier Gabaix, 2020. "Optimal Taxation with Behavioral Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(1), pages 298-336, January.
    5. Ulrike Malmendier, 2016. "The Bidder's Curse: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(4), pages 1195-1213, April.
    6. Tasoff, Joshua & Letzler, Robert, 2014. "Everyone believes in redemption: Nudges and overoptimism in costly task completion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 107-122.
    7. Todd D. Gerarden & Richard G. Newell & Robert N. Stavins, 2017. "Assessing the Energy-Efficiency Gap," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1486-1525, December.
    8. Damgaard, Mette Trier & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2018. "Nudging in education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 313-342.
    9. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
    10. Dertwinkel-Kalt, Markus & Köster, Mats & Sutter, Matthias, 2020. "To buy or not to buy? Price salience in an online shopping field experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).
    11. Gilbert, Ben & Graff Zivin, Joshua S., 2020. "Dynamic corrective taxes with time-varying salience," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 103(C).
    12. Alejandro Ponce & Enrique Seira & Guillermo Zamarripa, 2017. "Borrowing on the Wrong Credit Card? Evidence from Mexico," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1335-1361, April.
    13. Dalton, Michael & Landry, Peter, 2020. "‘Overattention’ to first-hand experience in hiring decisions: Evidence from professional basketball," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 98-113.
    14. Dewan, Ambuj & Neligh, Nathaniel, 2020. "Estimating information cost functions in models of rational inattention," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 187(C).
    15. Allcott, Hunt & Mullainathan, Sendhil & Taubinsky, Dmitry, 2014. "Energy policy with externalities and internalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 72-88.
    16. Hunt Allcott & Michael Greenstone, 2012. "Is There an Energy Efficiency Gap?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 3-28, Winter.
    17. Ericson, Keith M. Marzilli, 2020. "When consumers do not make an active decision: Dynamic default rules and their equilibrium effects," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 369-385.
    18. Kevin Ducbao Tran, 2020. "Partitioned Pricing and Consumer Welfare," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1888, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    19. 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.
    20. Houde, Sebastien & Aldy, Joseph E., 2017. "The Efficiency Consequences of Heterogeneous Behavioral Responses to Energy Fiscal Policies," Working Paper Series rwp17-047, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    email; higher education; incentives; nudges; text; randomized control trial;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A22 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Undergraduate
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:675. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/glabode.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/glabode.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.