Nudging Student Participation in Online Evaluations of Teaching: Evidence from a Field Experiment
26 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2020
Date Written: August 12, 2020
This paper reports the results of a large randomized field experiment that investigates the extent to which nudges can stimulate student participation in teaching evaluations. Three different nudges were tested:
(1) heightening students’ perceived impact of teaching evaluations,
(2) communicating a descriptive norm of high participation, and
(3) using the commitment-consistency principle by asking students to commit to participation.
We find that none of the nudges was effective: all treatment effects were insignificant and close to zero in magnitude. Exploring heterogeneous treatment effects, we find evidence that the effectiveness of the commitment treatment differed across students: it increased participation among students with good average grades, whereas it decreased participation for students whose grades were poor. Overall, our results add to the body of evidence that demonstrates that nudges may not always be as effective as suggested in the literature.
Keywords: nudges, social norms, descriptive norm, commitment, student evaluation of teaching, participation, response rates, field experiment
JEL Classification: D90, D91, H41, I20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation