When Goal-Setting Forges Ahead But Stops Short

65 Pages Posted: 4 May 2020

See all articles by Asad Islam

Asad Islam

Monash University - Department of Economics

Sungoh Kwon

University of Connecticut

Eema Masood

World Bank

Nishith Prakash

University of Connecticut; Institute for the Study of Labor

Shwetlena Sabarwal

World Bank

Deepak Saraswat

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics

Abstract

In this study, we use at scale randomized control trial among 18,000 secondary students in 181 schools in Tanzania (Zanzibar) to examine the effects of personal best goal-settings on students' academic performance. We also offer non-financial rewards to students to meet the goals they set. We find that goal-setting has a significant positive impact on student time use, study effort, and self-discipline. However, we do not find any significant impact of goalsetting on test scores. We find that, this could be partially because about 2/3rd of students do not set realistic goals. Third, we find weaker results on time use, study effort, and discipline when we combine goal-setting with non-financial rewards, suggesting that typing goal-setting to extrinsic incentives could weaken its impact. We also find that female students improved on outcomes much more than male students and that students coming from relatively weaker socio-economic backgrounds improved more than their counterparts.

Keywords: goal-setting, recognition rewards, student performance, Zanzibar

JEL Classification: D9, I20, I25, O15, O55

Suggested Citation

Islam, Asadul and Kwon, Sungoh and Masood, Eema and Prakash, Nishith and Sabarwal, Shwetlena and Saraswat, Deepak, When Goal-Setting Forges Ahead But Stops Short. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13188, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3590886

Asadul Islam (Contact Author)

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Monash University
Caulfield East, Victoria
Australia
+61399032783 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://users.monash.edu/~asaduli/

Sungoh Kwon

University of Connecticut ( email )

Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

Eema Masood

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Nishith Prakash

University of Connecticut ( email )

365 Fairfield Way, U-1063
Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/nishithprakash1978/

Institute for the Study of Labor ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Shwetlena Sabarwal

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Deepak Saraswat

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics ( email )

365 Fairfield Way, U-1063
Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

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