NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Sally Sadoff

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

Working Papers and Chapters

July 2012Enhancing the Efficacy of Teacher Incentives through Loss Aversion: A Field Experiment
with Roland G. Fryer, Jr, Steven D. Levitt, John List: w18237
Domestic attempts to use financial incentives for teachers to increase student achievement have been ineffective. In this paper, we demonstrate that exploiting the power of loss aversion--teachers are paid in advance and asked to give back the money if their students do not improve sufficiently--increases math test scores between 0.201 (0.076) and 0.398 (0.129) standard deviations. This is equivalent to increasing teacher quality by more than one standard deviation. A second treatment arm, identical to the loss aversion treatment but implemented in the standard fashion, yields smaller and statistically insignificant results. This suggests it is loss aversion, rather than other features of the design or population sampled, that leads to the stark differences between our findings and past re...
June 2012The Behavioralist Goes to School: Leveraging Behavioral Economics to Improve Educational Performance
with Steven D. Levitt, John A. List, Susanne Neckermann: w18165
Research on behavioral economics has established the importance of factors such as reference dependent preferences, hyperbolic discounting, and the value placed on non-financial rewards. To date, these insights have had little impact on the way the educational system operates. Through a series of field experiments involving thousands of primary and secondary school students, we demonstrate the power of behavioral economics to influence educational performance. Several insights emerge. First, we find substantial incentive effects from both financial and non-financial incentives on test scores. Second, we find that non-financial incentives are considerably more cost-effective than financial incentives for younger students, but were less effective with older students. Third, and perhaps most ...
January 2010So you want to run an experiment, now what? Some Simple Rules of Thumb for Optimal Experimental Design
with John A. List, Mathis Wagner: w15701
Experimental economics represents a strong growth industry. In the past several decades the method has expanded beyond intellectual curiosity, now meriting consideration alongside the other more traditional empirical approaches used in economics. Accompanying this growth is an influx of new experimenters who are in need of straightforward direction to make their designs more powerful. This study provides several simple rules of thumb that researchers can apply to improve the efficiency of their experimental designs. We buttress these points by including empirical examples from the literature.

Published: John List & Sally Sadoff & Mathis Wagner, 2011. "So you want to run an experiment, now what? Some simple rules of thumb for optimal experimental design," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 439-457, November. citation courtesy of

December 2009Checkmate: Exploring Backward Induction Among Chess Players
with Steven D. Levitt, John A. List: w15610
Although backward induction is a cornerstone of game theory, most laboratory experiments have found that agents are not able to successfully backward induct. Much of this evidence, however, is generated using the Centipede game, which is ill-suited for testing the theory. In this study, we analyze the play of world class chess players both in the centipede game and in another class of games - Race to 100 games - that are pure tests of backward induction. We find that world class chess players behave like student subjects in the centipede game, virtually never playing the backward induction equilibrium In the race to 100 games, in contrast, we find that many chess players properly backward induct. Consistent with our claim that the Centipede game is not a useful test of backward induct...

Published: Steven D. Levitt & John A. List & Sally E. Sadoff, 2011. "Checkmate: Exploring Backward Induction among Chess Players," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 975-90, April. citation courtesy of

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

 
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