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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Incentives for Effort or Outputs? A Field Experiment to Improve Student Performance


This randomized experiment implemented with school children in India directly tests an input incentive designed to increase effort on learning activities against both an output incentive that rewards test performance and a control. Students in the input incentive treatment perform .58σ better than those in the control, and .34σ better than students in the output incentive treatment. Thus, the input incentive is approximately twice as cost-effective as the output incentive. The input incentive increases the intensive margin of student effort on the learning activity, and it is particularly effective for students that are present-biased as measured at baseline. 

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