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Incentivizing Self-Control
Last registered on March 25, 2017


Trial Information
General Information
Incentivizing Self-Control
Initial registration date
March 13, 2017
Last updated
March 25, 2017 9:32 AM EDT
Primary Investigator
Lund University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
We give students the possibility to select a goal grade for their course. Students are told that if they reach their goal grade or higher, they will be paid a prize. We will compare the chosen goals with their past grades and with the goals selected by another group of students who are not incentivized. Finally, we will test whether such incentivized goals have any impact in the students' course performance with respect to a group that chose non-incentivized goals and a control group.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Campos-Mercade, Pol. 2017. "Incentivizing Self-Control." AEA RCT Registry. March 25. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2089-2.0.
Former Citation
Campos-Mercade, Pol. 2017. "Incentivizing Self-Control." AEA RCT Registry. March 25. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2089/history/15449.
Experimental Details
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Selected goal grade and course performance.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We will calculate "course performance" by controlling for the grades of the exams and assignments of the students' previous course. Given the information that we have from every student, we will use the non-treated students to find the best way to predict the student's "expected grade". Once we assign an "expected grade" to each student we will calculate:
Course performance = actual grade - expected grade
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
After a regular class, we will divide students between three groups: control, goal and incentivized goal. Those students in the control group will read a brief paragraph about the importance of studying. Students in the goal group will be encouraged to select a goal grade for their exam. Students in the incentivized goal group will be encouraged to select a goal grade for their exam. If they reach such goal they will be paid a prize. After this, all students will be required to fill a questionnaire. In the questionnaire we will gather information about the students' academic goals, study habits, risk and time preferences, and self-control problems. During the following week, the students will receive an e-mail that thanks them for their participation and, if applicable, informs them about their decision during the experiment.
After the students have taken the final exam, they will receive an online survey that they have to fill in order to receive the final payment.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Public lottery
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Two classes
Sample size: planned number of observations
Around 225 students (depending on those who decide to participate).
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
50 students in the control group (C)
75 students in the goal group (G)
100 students in the incentivized goal group (IG)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
For the C and G groups we expect an average of 0/100 and a standard deviation of 10. For there to be a detectable effect size we need the IG group to present an average of 4/100 points or more.
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)