|Using Goals to Motivate College Students: Theory and Evidence from Field Experiments|
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Will college students who set goals for themselves work harder and achieve better outcomes? In theory, setting goals can help present-biased students to mitigate their self-control problem. In practice, there is little credible evidence on the causal effects of goal setting for college students. We report the results of two field experiments that involved almost four thousand college students in total. One experiment asked treated students to set goals for performance in the course; the other asked treated students to set goals for a particular task (completing online practice exams). Task-based goals had large and robust positive effects on the level of task completion, and task-based goals also increased course performance. Further analysis indicates that the increase in task completion ...
|Public School Choice: An Economic Analysis|
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Public school choice programs give households a free choice of public school and provide schools incentives to compete for students. Proponents of these programs argue that by the usual market logic, choice and competition will improve the quality of the education that schools provide. Critics counter that the usual market logic does not translate easily to schools, since households’ perceptions of school quality depend not only on the efforts of school personnel but also on the composition of the student body (i.e., households have peer preferences). This paper advances this debate by developing and analyzing an economic model of public school choice. To capture the pro-choice argument, the model assumes that a neighborhood enrollment policy that provides schools with no incentives to exe...
|The Effect of Education on Adult Health and Mortality: Evidence from Britain|
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There is a strong, positive and well-documented correlation between education and health outcomes. There is much less evidence on the extent to which this correlation reflects the causal effect of education on health - the parameter of interest for policy. In this paper we attempt to overcome the difficulties associated with estimating the causal effect of education on health. Our approach exploits two changes to British compulsory schooling laws that generated sharp differences in educational attainment among individuals born just months apart. Using regression discontinuity methods, we confirm that the cohorts just affected by these changes completed significantly more education than slightly older cohorts subject to the old laws. However, we find little evidence that this additional edu...
Published: Clark, Damon, and Heather Royer. 2013. "The Effect of Education on Adult Mortality and Health: Evidence from Britain." American Economic Review, 103(6): 2087-2120.
|Education and the Age Profile of Literacy into Adulthood|
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It is widely documented that U.S. students score below their OECD counterparts on international achievement tests, but it is less commonly known that ultimately, U.S. native adults catch up. In this paper, we explore institutional explanations for differences in the evolution of literacy over young adulthood across wealthy OECD countries. We use an international cross-section of micro data from the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS); these data show that cross-country differences in the age profile of literacy skills are not due to differences in individual family background, and that relatively high rates of university graduation appears to explain a good part of the U.S. "catch up." The cross-sectional design of the IALS prevents us from controlling for cohort effects, but we ...
Published: Elizabeth Cascio & Damon Clark & Nora Gordon, 2008. "Education and the Age Profile of Literacy into Adulthood," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 47-70, Summer. citation courtesy of