Unintended consequences of rewards for student attendance: Results from a field experiment in Indian classrooms

Sujata Visaria, Rajeev Dehejia, Melody M. Chao, Anirban Mukhopadhyay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In an experiment in non-formal schools in Indian slums, a reward scheme for attending a target number of school days increased average attendance when the scheme was in place, but had heterogeneous effects after it was removed. Among students with high baseline attendance, the incentive had no effect on attendance after it was discontinued, and test scores were unaffected. Among students with low baseline attendance, the incentive lowered post-incentive attendance, and test scores decreased. For these students, the incentive was also associated with lower interest in school material and lower optimism and confidence about their ability. This suggests incentives might have unintended long-term consequences for the very students they are designed to help the most.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-184
Number of pages12
JournalEconomics of Education Review
Volume54
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Keywords

  • Attendance
  • Educational economics
  • Experiment
  • Incentives
  • Motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Economics and Econometrics

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