Putting Social Rewards and Identity Salience to the Test: Evidence from a Field Experiment on Teachers in Philadelphia

Journal of Behavioral Public Administration, 2018

33 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2018 Last revised: 10 Mar 2018

See all articles by Syon Bhanot

Syon Bhanot

Swarthmore College

Gordon T. Kraft-Todd

Yale University, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Department of Psychology

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Erez Yoeli

Harvard University - Program for Evolutionary Dynamics

Date Written: January 25, 2018

Abstract

We partnered with the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) to run a randomized experiment testing interventions to increase teacher participation in an annual feedback survey, an uncompensated task that requires a teacher’s time but helps the educational system overall. Our experiment varied the nature of the incentive scheme used, and the associated messaging. In the experiment, all 8,062 active teachers in the SDP were randomly assigned to receive one of four emails using a 2x2 experimental design; specifically, teachers received a lottery-based financial incentive to complete the survey that was either "personal" (a chance to win one of fifteen $100 gift cards for themselves) or "social" (a chance to win one of fifteen $100 gift cards for supplies for their students), and also received email messaging that either did or did not make salient their identity as an educator. Despite abundant statistical power, we find no discernible differences across our conditions on survey completion rates. One implication of these null results is that from a public administration perspective, social rewards may be preferable since funds used for this purpose by school districts go directly to students (through increased expenditure on student supplies), and do not seem less efficacious than personal financial incentives for teachers.

Keywords: Behavioral Policy, Identity, Social Incentives, Field Experiment, Education

JEL Classification: H40, H41, I2, I20

Suggested Citation

Bhanot, Syon and Kraft-Todd, Gordon T. and Rand, David G. and Yoeli, Erez, Putting Social Rewards and Identity Salience to the Test: Evidence from a Field Experiment on Teachers in Philadelphia (January 25, 2018). Journal of Behavioral Public Administration, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3110025 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3110025

Syon Bhanot (Contact Author)

Swarthmore College

500 College Ave
Kohlberg Hall 206
Swarthmore, PA 19081
United States

Gordon T. Kraft-Todd

Yale University, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Department of Psychology ( email )

P.O. Box 208205
New Haven, CT 06520-8205
United States

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.daverand.org

Erez Yoeli

Harvard University - Program for Evolutionary Dynamics ( email )

One Brattle Square, Suite 6
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://erezyoeli.com/

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