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Individual incentives, collective incentives and socioemotional skills

Grant number: 16/23896-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2017
Effective date (End): February 28, 2019
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Economics
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal researcher:Vladimir Pinheiro Ponczek
Grantee:Luis Eduardo Negrão Meloni
Home Institution: Escola de Economia de São Paulo (EESP). Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


One type of program that has been increasingly used for the purpose of increase school performance are programs that provide financial incentives to students. Overall, the literature documents that the impact that incentives have on student performance relies heavily on how they are designed, the public targeted, that is, the age range and socioeconomic characteristics of the students, and even the way incentives are paid. An example is the Angrist & Lavy article, in which the authors study the effect of a program that provided financial incentives to high school students in Israel. The authors find positive effects of the program only for girls. However, they do not suggest an explanation for that, they only suggest, based on some psychology studies, that adolescent girls have more self-discipline than adolescent boys. In fact, it is well documented by the psychology literature that boys and girls tend to have different personality traits. These results taken together with what was found by Angrist & Lavy lead to a key question, not yet investigated, and that can explain the results obtained by Angrist & Lavy, that is, how socioemotional abilities affect students' response to incentives.In this sense, this project aims to understand how students react to different types of incentives and how their social-emotional abilities influence this response. To understand this, we aim to study a program carried out in public schools in the municipality of Santo André, in the State of São Paulo, between December 2014 and November 2015. The program provided two types of incentives: individual, in which the student was awarded a based on his performance in a cognitive test, and collective, in which the student was awarded based on the entire class performance.Besides the relevant question to understand the role that social-emotional abilities have in how students react to the incentives, the design of the program brings the opportunity to study another relevant question not yet studied in the literature, that is, how students react to different types of incentives. More specifically, how they react to non-pecuniary individual and collective incentives. (AU)

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