No. 6/2011:Financial incentives and study duration in higher education


The current paper investigates to which extent students in higher education respond to financial incentives by adjusting their study behavior. Students in Norway who completed certain graduate study programs between 1991 and 1995 on stipulated time were entitled to a restitution (of approximately 3,000 USD) from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund. Using a difference-in-difference approach, we find that the fraction of students graduating on time during the reform period increased by 10 percent, relative to a base probability of about 25 percent. The estimated effect for fully treated students (students who were aware of the reform from the start of their studies) is much higher, at 50 percent.