Nudging student participation in online evaluations of teaching: Evidence from a field experiment

Susanne Neckermann, Uyanga Turmunkh*, Dennie van Dolder, Tong V. Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104001
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Early online date9 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Our field experiment was run with the help from Education Service Center of Erasmus School of Economics, which also subsequently provided us access to relevant data in anonymous format. The Education Service Center, however, played no role in study design, analysis, preparation of manuscript, or publication decision. No other third-party played any role. Disclosure statement for Susanne Neckermann: I have no conflicts to disclose on this paper. I received no funding and have no financial interest. Susanne NeckermannUyanga Turmunkh has no conflicts of interest to disclose. The author received no funding for this research. Dennie van Dolder gratefully acknowledge support from the Netherlands organization for Scientific Research (NWO, 452–16–011) and from the Economic and Social Research Council via the Network for Integrated Behavioural Sciences (ES/K002201/1). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Tong V. Wang declares that she has no material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Commitment
  • Descriptive norm
  • Field experiment
  • Nudges
  • Participation
  • Response rates
  • Social norms
  • Student evaluation of teaching


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