Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in International and Development Economics (MSIDEC)


College of Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Alessandra Cassar


Does goal setting among low-income ninth graders leads to higher average goal achievements of educational outcomes? This question is explored by a field experiment motivated by the acknowledged California-based Family Independence Initiative (FII), to analyze the effectiveness of individual goal setting, incentives and self-help groups on the achievement of educational goals. By randomizing treatments and control with the cooperation of the Secretary of Education in Medellin, different classrooms were assigned to five different experimental groups that met systematically for five months. The results show that goal setting is a cost-effective method to help low-income students achieve educational outcomes. Setting a goal significantly increases a subject’s probability of achieving the task set out in the goal. Combining this with incentives and self-help groups is the most effective approach, with an increase in the likelihood of achieving an educational goal by 41% compared to setting a goal alone. Increased goal achievement leads to a higher academic performance through a higher average grade.