Replication Researcher: Dhiraj Sharma
Original Paper Title: Incentives to Learn
Original Researchers: Michael Kremer, Edward Miguel, and Rebecca Thornton
Original Publication: The Review of Economics and Statistics
Replication Plan: Not Applicable
Current Status: Grant cancelled
The Original Study
This study evaluates the Girls’ Scholarship Program, a merit scholarship programme administered in Kenyan primary schools by the Dutch NGO ICS Africa. Merit scholarships reduce the costs of education for recipients and may improve academic performance by inducing greater effort by eligible students. Scholarships may also increase teacher effort and generate positive externalities for non-eligible students. The programme awarded scholarships to grade 6 girls with end-of-year standardized exam scores in the top 15 percent in rural Busia and Teso districts. The scholarships covered school fees and supplies for the next two academic years. This study examines this programme’s impact on academic performance and teacher attendance.
In recent years, a number of studies have sought to understand the impact of monetary incentives on student effort, test scores, graduation rates, and other school outcomes. "Incentives to Learn" demonstrates a substantial impact of delayed financial rewards on eligible students in the district where the programme was implemented with high fidelity. This finding has been very influential in shaping the debate on the role of merit scholarship in education in developing countries. This replication investigates the possibility of grade inflation in the district exams and examines the hypothesis of multiple equilibria in the school learning environment.