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Parent Child Information Frictions and Human Capital Investment: Evidence from a Field Experiment

June 2015

Peter Bergman


This experiment examines the effect of increased flows of information to parents on student success. A randomly assigned group of parents were given comprehensive information regarding their child’s academic achievement (grades 6-11). Results show that students in the treatment group experienced GPAs 0.23 points higher than in the control group. Further, students in the treatment group were more likely to turn in final exams and projects, and earned higher grades on them.

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Policy Implications

The results indicate that a very cost-effective mechanism for improving student achievement may be to simply increase the amount of information parents receive about their children’s academic achievement. The authors argue that without this information, parents tend to be biased towards believing their children are preforming better than reality, and thus may not take proper steps to encourage hard work.

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