The Importance of Relative Performance Feedback Information: Evidence from a Natural Experiment Using High School Students

44 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2009  

Ghazala Azmat

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences

Nagore Iriberri

Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU) - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis I

Date Written: January 15, 2009

Abstract

We study the effect of providing relative performance feedback information on performance under piece-rate incentives. A natural experiment that took place in a high school offers an unusual opportunity to test this effect in a real-effort setting. For one year only, students received information that allowed them to know whether they were above (below) the class average as well as the distance from this average. We exploit a rich panel data set and find that the provision of this information led to an increase of 5% in students’ grades. Moreover, the effect was significant for the whole distribution. However, once the information was removed the effect disappeared. To rule out the concern that the effect may be driven by teachers within the school, we verify our results using national level exams (externally graded) for the same students, and the effect remains.

Keywords: School performance, relative performance, piece-rate, feedback, natural experiment, social comparison, self-perception, competitive preferences

JEL Classification: I21, M52, C30

Suggested Citation

Azmat, Ghazala and Iriberri, Nagore, The Importance of Relative Performance Feedback Information: Evidence from a Natural Experiment Using High School Students (January 15, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1428283 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1428283

Ghazala Azmat (Contact Author)

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain
935421757 (Phone)
935421746 (Fax)

Nagore Iriberri

Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU) - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis I ( email )

Avenida Lehendakari Aguirre 83
E-48015 Bilbao
Spain

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
82
rank
274,420
Abstract Views
731
PlumX