Nudging Student Participation in Online Evaluations of Teaching: Evidence from a Field Experiment


This paper reports the results of a large randomized field experiment that investigates the extent to which nudges can stimulate student participation in teaching evaluations. The three nudges that we used were designed to either: (1) heighten students’ perceived impact of teaching evaluations, (2) communicate a descriptive norm of high participation, and (3) use the commitment-consistency principle by asking students to commit to participation. We find that none of the nudges were effective: all treatment effects are insignificant and close to zero in magnitude. Exploring heterogeneous treatment effects, we find evidence that the effectiveness of both the impact and commitment treatments differed across students. The impact treatment had a negative effect on the participation of bachelor-level students, but not on that of master-level students. The commitment treatment increased participation among students with good average grades, whereas it decreased participation for students whose average grades were poor.

European Economic Review