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Economics News

Faculty Spotlight – Zeynep Hansen

Two articles by Dr. Zeynep Hansen, Department of Economics, have been accepted to be published in peer-reviewed journals this summer.

The first article (co-authored with Hideo Owan, Jie Pan and Shinya Sugawara) titled “The Impact of Group Contract and Governance Structure on Performance: Evidence from College Classrooms,” is forthcoming in Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, and is now published online here. In this article, authors show that a group governance structure that incorporates a proper incentive scheme, such as punishment for free-riders and rewards for hard workers, has a significant positive impact on group (i.e. project) and individual (i.e. exam) performance of students. This study utilizes student performance and other demographic data from an undergraduate introductory management course. The implications of the study, however, go beyond the domain of the economics of education because teamwork in the study includes reading and collecting materials, identifying problems, devising solutions, organizing findings in a paper, and making an oral presentation—an array of tasks similar to group projects observed in many workplaces.

Another article by Dr. Hansen (co-authored with Hideo Owan and Jie Pan) titled “The Impact of Group Diversity on Class Performance: Evidence from College Classrooms” is forthcoming in Education Economics, and is available here. Using the same class performance data from an undergraduate management course in addition to student demographic data, authors examine how group diversity affects group work performance and individual learning. Authors find that, on average, male-dominant groups performed worse in their group work and learned less (based on their grades in individually taken exams). This gender effect is highly significant in individual learning outcomes providing evidence that gender diversity is influential in the level and nature of knowledge transfers within groups. However, racial diversity had no significant effect on observed group or individual performances.

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