When Opportunity Knocks, Who Answers? New Evidence on College Achievement Awards

29 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2010

See all articles by Joshua D. Angrist

Joshua D. Angrist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Philip Oreopoulos

University of Toronto - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

Tyler K. Williams

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: December 2010

Abstract

We evaluate the effects of academic achievement awards for first and second-year college students on a Canadian commuter campus. The award scheme offered linear cash incentives for course grades above 70. Awards were paid every term. Program participants also had access to peer advising by upperclassmen. Program engagement appears to have been high but overall treatment effects were small. The 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. We argue that these results fit in with an emerging picture of mostly modest effects for cash award programs of this type at the post-secondary level.

Suggested Citation

Angrist, Joshua and Oreopoulos, Philip and Williams, Tyler K., When Opportunity Knocks, Who Answers? New Evidence on College Achievement Awards (December 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w16643. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1730587

Joshua Angrist (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Philip Oreopoulos

University of Toronto - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

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Canada

Tyler K. Williams

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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