Studying Alone or Together: How do the incentives make students more productive?

Author Name NAKAMURO Makiko (Keio University) / KAYABA Yutaka (Hitotsubashi University)
Creation Date/NO. March 2016 16-J-028
Research Project Reform of Labor Market Institutions
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In labor economics, a large body of research empirically suggests that assembling teams with a small number of workers improves worker productivity when the rewards are incentivized to team production. This may be explained by collaboration, mutual learning, knowledge and skills spillover, and social pressure among workers. Is this applicable for studying?.

This paper examines the causal effect of team participation and team composition on student productivity using the datasets from an e-learning material called "Sulala" where students are randomly assigned into schools with either individual competition or team competition at the "Sulala Cup" implemented during the summer of 2015. According to the empirical results, students who are assigned into team competition on average are 14%-20% more productive than their counterparts who are assigned into individual competition. In addition to the productivity, it is found that students who are engaged in team competition improve their test scores as well. Once the sample is separated by gender, the effects to participate in team competition, however, appear to be positive and statistically significant only for male students. Looking at the effect of team composition on productivity, peer effects in forming teams with only male students are stronger than with only females or both male and female students.