Fun in Education

74 Pages Posted: 1 May 2016 Last revised: 23 Mar 2018

See all articles by Loretti Dobrescu

Loretti Dobrescu

University of New South Wales, School of Economics

Richard Holden

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Alberto Motta

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics

Chun Wong

University of Technology Sydney (UTS) - Faculty of Business

Date Written: March 16, 2018

Abstract

The Beckerian view that ‘fun’ can be productive has new fertile applications in education, where interactive activities such as videogame tasks (consumption-intensive) are being used alongside standard instructions (workintensive). The implications of this transformation for equity, efficiency and academic performance have gone largely unexplored, both theoretically and empirically. This paper presents the first estimates of the causal effect of a videogame task on students’ academic choices and performance and offers a simple model to flesh out potential mechanisms and policy implications. Our empirical results are consistent with a model where low-performing students benefit more from consumption-intensive education, owing to an increase in the productivity of leisure hours and a decrease in the likelihood of procrastination. The impacts are large, with students who had access to this simple videogame task scoring 9.05% higher in their final exam. They also take more courses on related subjects, being more likely to graduate with degrees in the same field.

Keywords: higher education, new teaching methods, educational (serious) games

JEL Classification: I20, I23

Suggested Citation

Dobrescu, Loretti Isabella and Holden, Richard and Motta, Alberto and Wong, Chun, Fun in Education (March 16, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2772371 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2772371

Loretti Isabella Dobrescu (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Richard Holden

University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )

Kensington
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Alberto Motta

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/albertomottaeconomics/

Chun Wong

University of Technology Sydney (UTS) - Faculty of Business ( email )

Australia

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