Incentives to Learn

55 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2004 Last revised: 25 Jun 2010

See all articles by Michael Kremer

Michael Kremer

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Center for Global Development; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Edward Miguel

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Rebecca Thornton

Harvard University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2004

Abstract

We report results from a randomized evaluation of a merit scholarship program for adolescent girls in Kenya. Girls who scored well on academic exams had their school fees paid and received a cash grant for school supplies. Girls eligible for the scholarship showed significant gains in academic exam scores (average gain 0.12-0.19 standard deviations) and these gains persisted following the competition. There is also evidence of positive program externalities on learning: boys, who were ineligible for the awards, also showed sizeable average test gains, as did girls with low pretest scores, who were unlikely to win. Both student and teacher school attendance increased in the program schools. We discuss implications both for understanding the nature of educational production functions and for the policy debate surrounding merit scholarships.

Suggested Citation

Kremer, Michael R. and Miguel, Edward and Thornton, Rebecca, Incentives to Learn (December 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10971. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=633631

Michael R. Kremer (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Edward Miguel

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Rebecca Thornton

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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