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More Evidence That Paying for Grades Isn't Easy

As you may have read on this blog, the economist Roland Fryer has done quite a bit of research on bribing kids — i.e., offering financial rewards for good grades. A new working paper from Josh Angrist, Philip Oreopoulos and Tyler Williams examines the effect of financial rewards on performance among an older cohort: college students. First- and second-year college students in Canada were offered cash rewards for grades above 70 and were also contacted by upperclassmen advisers “trained to provide advice about study strategies, time management, and university?bureaucracy.” The authors found that “[t]he intervention increased the number of courses graded above 70 and points earned above 70 for second-year students, but there was no significant effect on overall GPA. Results are somewhat stronger for a subsample that correctly described the program rules.” Their findings are consistent with previous research indicating that the incentives are less successful for older children. [%comments]