A Long Day at School: Paternalistic Education, Intrinsic Motivation and Academic Performance

Prof. Ruixin WANG
Assistant Professor
School of Economics & Management
Harbin Institute of Technology, Shenzhen

Date: 07 December 2023 (Thursday)
Time: 10:30 am to 12:00 am
Venue: E22-G015
Host: Prof. Jia YUAN, Associate Professor in Business Economics
Online registration: https://umac.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_070LTC89hWx8oM6


Paternalistic education is ubiquitous, particularly in East Asian countries. However, by influencing or constraining choices of students, paternalistic education may disempower students and “crowd out” their intrinsic motivation (Bénabou and Tirole, 2003). Using data from the China Education Panel Survey, this paper studies how paternalistic education at school shapes students’ academic motivations and performances by estimating the effect of evening school session, which on average extends a school day to 14 hours and includes almost all study time within the control of school. We find that evening school session significantly reduces students’ test scores and self-assessed scores, especially in Chinese and English. Additionally, evening school session undermines students’ intrinsic motivation for study, and creates mental health issues. We identify causal inferences by exploiting the variation in sunset time and boarding status and discuss alternative interpretations. Furthermore, we find that the negative impacts of evening schooling sessions are particularly strong when the students are exposed to teachers who face more pressure from teaching evaluation, student promotion rate and school administration.


Ruixin Wang is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Harbin Institute of Technology, Shenzhen (HITsz). He obtained his Ph.D. in Economics from Tilburg University in the Netherlands in 2015. Most of his work focuses on economic development, utilizing micro-data from households and enterprises in China. Prior to joining HITsz, he served as a Research Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University. Since 2019, he has been actively involved as an organizer of the Enterprise Survey for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in China (ESIEC). He has published several papers in top-tier academic journals, both in English and Chinese, including the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, The China Quarterly, International Tax and Public Finance, China Economic Review, China Economic Quarterly (Chinese), and more. He was awarded the First Prize for Excellent Research Achievement by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China in 2022 and received the Best Paper Award at the China Labor Economists Forum in 2016.

 All are welcome!