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Perform better, or else: Academic probation, public praise, and students decision-making

Nicholas Wright ()

Labour Economics, 2020, vol. 62, issue C

Abstract: This paper examines how college initiatives that ascribe public recognition or written reprimand to a set standard of academic performance impact students’ decision-making. Many colleges utilize programs such as the Dean’s list and academic probation policies as mediums to encourage student success. These policies impose a cost on affected students through the potential loss of acquired benefits or the threat of expulsion for failing to perform above the established standard in future semesters. Using the regression discontinuity design, I find that students who are named to the Dean’s list or put on academic probation during their first year improved their subsequent academic performance. To achieve this improvement, students on the Dean’s list are induced into selecting courses and instructors that are more likely to result in higher letter grades and those bounded by the academic probation policy are likely to switch majors and employ a maximin strategy for expected grades when choosing courses.

Keywords: Public praise; Academic probation; Effort; Course selection; Major; GPA (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D84 I20 I21 I23 J01 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2019.101773

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