A SUCCESSFUL ECONOMICS EXPERIMENT IN A RICH COUNTRY. Professor Roland Fryer has been conducting randomized economics experiments on whether cash incentives can improve educational performance. This article in the Economist describes some of the results. Cash payments based on course grades or results on standardized tests seemed to have no effect. Professor Fryer thinks that this is because the students didn’t have an idea of how to go about improving their performance—they didn’t know how to study. On the other hand, one experiment showed that paying for inputs can work. Second graders were paid $2 for every book they read and understood. They read more books—and their grades improved. Notice that Professor Duflo’s experiment with the camera was designed to find ways to get teachers to show up for class, and that in a developed country that can be taken for granted.

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