UCLouvain Economics Seminar - Antonio Cabrales

February 23, 2017

12:45 - 2:00pm


Doyens 22

Antonio Cabrales

(University College London)

will give a presentation on

What You Know... Can't Hurt You? A Field Experiment on Relative Performance Feedback in Higher Education

Abstract :

This paper studies the effect of providing feedback to college students on their position in the grade distribution by using a randomized control experiment. This information was updated every six months during a three-year period. In the absence of treatment, a majority of students underestimate their position in the grade distribution. The treatment improves the students’ self-assessment, and treated students experience a decrease in their educational performance, as measured by the number of exams passed, and an improvement in their self-reported satisfaction, as measured by survey responses obtained after information is provided but before students take their exams. Those effects, however, are short lived, as students catch up in subsequent periods. Moreover, the negative effect on performance is driven by those students who underestimate their position in the absence of feedback. Students who overestimate initially their position, if anything, respond positively. This differential effect highlights the importance of prior beliefs.
(Joint paper with Ghazala Azmat, Manuel Bagues and Nagore Iriberri)


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