NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Paying to Learn: The Effect of Financial Incentives on Elementary School Test Scores

Eric P. Bettinger

NBER Working Paper No. 16333
Issued in September 2010
NBER Program(s):   ED

Policymakers and academics are increasingly interested in applying financial incentives to individuals in education. This paper presents evidence from a pay for performance program taking place in Coshocton, Ohio. Since 2004, Coshocton has provided cash payments to students in grades three through six for successful completion of their standardized testing. Coshocton determined eligibility for the program using randomization, and using this randomization, this paper identifies the effects of the program on students' academic behavior. We find that math scores improved about 0.15 standard deviations but that reading, social science, and science test scores did not improve.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16333

Published: Eric P. Bettinger, 2012. "Paying to Learn: The Effect of Financial Incentives on Elementary School Test Scores," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 686-698, August. citation courtesy of

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