Goal setting is a low-cost, scaleable and logistically simple commitment device to help people reach desired outcomes. We investigate the effects of whether or not a goal is set and whether or not the goal is set based on knowing one’s ability on test performance by conducting a field experiment in a college physical education course. We also investigate the mechanisms through which goal setting works, through setting more effective goals, raising test effort, or raising training effort. We find that compared to no goal being set, setting goals with knowing one’s ability significantly raises test performance while setting goals without knowing ability does not raise performance.Precise informationraises test performance partially through boosting test effort.
翁茜，瑞典哥德堡大学经济学博士，中国人民大学劳动人事学院讲师，主要研究领域为激励机制和企业绩效。近年来，已在Journal of Public Economic、China Economic Review等期刊上发表多篇论文。