Improving Grade Outcomes

Improved grade outcomes with an e-mailed ‘grade nudge’

Information provided at the moment a person makes a decision can influence behavior in predictable ways. The United Kingdom’s Behavioural Insights Team have used this idea to help improve the insulation of lofts, collect taxes, and even reduce litter. We developed software that appends a personalized message to each assignment in the class regarding the student’s current grade. This ‘grade nudge’ explains precisely how the assignment will impact the student’s final grade given their current standing in the class. Through a randomized trial, we show that the nudge improves student homework performance by about four percentage points.

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Moneyball Project

Teaching Marginal Revenue Product Using Moneyball

Many students sign up for a sports economics course with the intention of learning the Moneyball process. We have developed an activity that allows students the opportunity to apply the Moneyball phenomenon using data from Major League Baseball and then participate in a player draft and simulated tournament structure. The project can also be incorporated into a labor economics or intermediate microeconomics course that teaches marginal revenue product. The paper also provides information on accessing a computer program that simulates the Major League Baseball playoff tournament. For more information, visit www.MoneyballSimulator.info

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Nudge

We Nudge and You Can Too!

Information provided at the moment a person is making a decision can influence behavior in predictable ways. The United Kingdom’s Behavioral Insights Team have used this idea to help improve the insulation of lofts, collect taxes and even reduce litter. We demonstrate that a similar approach works with students’ grades. We provide software that appends a personalized message to each assignment in the class. This ‘grade nudge’ explains precisely how the assignment will impact their final grade given the student’s current standing in the class.

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Network Effects

Network Externalities and Friendly Neighbors: When Firms Choose to Invite Competition

Economic theory on the subject of barriers to entry focuses almost exclusively on firms working to preserve market power and economic profits. In this paper, we propose that under certain circumstances firms may instead choose to reduce barriers to entry as a profit-maximizing mechanism. We model these conditions and predict that in some industries, an increase in the number of participating firms will induce enough growth in the industry to allow existing firms to increase profit by enticing other firms to enter the market.

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Working From Home

Agency Theory and the Decision to Work From Home

The ability of employees to work from home has changed drastically in recent years. Over this time, wages for home-workers have converged toward those of office-workers. I argue that these changes are driven by changes in the ability of firms to monitor employees who work outside of the office.

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Drinking and College Sports

College Alcohol Consumption and NCAA Tournament Participation: the Health Cost of March Madness

We examine the effect of the NCAA Tournament on the level of binge drinking through a nationally representative sample of American campuses. While a focus on athletics may augment the visibility of a university to prospective students and thereby benefit the school, it may also have a negative effect on the current student body by influencing risky behavior related to intercollegiate athletics, especially the consumption of alcohol commonly associated with game day festivities.

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Merit Aid Scholarships

The Effects of Merit-Based Financial Aid on Drinking in College

We study the effect of state-level merit aid programs (such as Georgia’s HOPE scholarship) on alcohol consumption among college students. Such programs have the potential to affect drinking through a combination of channels–such as raising students’ disposable income and increasing the incentive to maintain a high GPA–that could theoretically raise or lower alcohol use.

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