Performance pay improves engagement, progress, and satisfaction in computer-based job skills training of low-income adults

Mikhail N. Koffarnus, Anthony Defulio, Sigurdur O. Sigurdsson, Kenneth Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Advancing the education of low-income adults could increase employment and income, but adult education programs have not successfully engaged low-income adults. Monetary reinforcement may be effective in promoting progress in adult education. This experiment evaluated the benefits of providing incentives for performance in a job-skills training program for low-income, unemployed adults. Participants worked on typing and keypad programs for 7 months. Participants randomly assigned to Group A (n = 23) earned hourly and productivity pay on the typing program (productivity pay), but earned only equalized hourly pay on the keypad program (hourly pay). Group B (n = 19) participants had the opposite contingencies. Participants worked more on, advanced further on, and preferred their productivity pay program. These results show that monetary incentives can increase performance in a job-skills training program, and indicate that payment in adult education programs should be delivered contingent on performance in the training program instead of simply on attendance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-406
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

Keywords

  • education
  • employment
  • incentives
  • reinforcement
  • vocational training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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