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The importance of relative performance feedback information: Evidence from a natural experiment using high school students
Azmat, Ghazala; Iriberri, Nagore
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
We study the effect of providing relative performance feedback information onperformance, when individuals are rewarded according to their absolute performance. Anatural experiment that took place in a high school offers an unusual opportunity to testthis effect in a real-effort setting. For one year only, students received information thatallowed them to know whether they were performing above (below) the class average aswell as the distance from this average. We exploit a rich panel data set and find that theprovision of this information led to an increase of 5% in students grades. Moreover, theeffect was significant for the whole distribution. However, once the information wasremoved, the effect disappeared. To rule out the concern that the effect may beartificially driven by teachers within the school, we verify our results using nationallevel exams (externally graded) for the same students, and the effect remains.
Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Labour, Public, Development and Health Economics
school performance
relative performance
absolute performance
natural experiment
social comparison
competitive preferences.
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