In early 2014, Lester Lusher, a PHD candidate from UC Davis, developed a mechanism inspired by research from Behavioral Economics that would incentivize college students to get better grades in school. Upon sharing his research with a friend, Lester was encouraged to submit his research project to a local business idea competition, leading to the birth of CollegeBetter.
After finishing in first place at the competition, Lester teamed up with several professors from the Department of Economics and with Institutional Review Board approval, opened the first CollegeBetter pool in the Winter 2015 quarter at UC Davis. Of the 412 students surveyed in various Economics classes, 169 submitted applications to join the Winter 2015 CollegeBetter pool ($10 buy in with a goal of "raise my cumulative GPA by the end of the quarter"). 91 of those 169 applications were randomly selected to receive an invitation to officially join the pool and submit their $10, creating a pot size of $10*91 = $910. These subjects were more likely to raise their GPA compared to those who applied but were not invited to join. 51 of the 91 participants raised their cumulative GPAs, or about 56%. Winners took home $17.85, a 78.5% increase on the participants initial bet amount.
Now, we are allowing all UC Davis undergraduates the opportunity to participate in CollegeBetter. We will set up at least one pool for each major term at UC Davis (Summer Sessions, Fall, Winter, and Spring). Find out more about the individual team members below, and sign up for email alerts (one per quarter) by providing your email address on our home page.
Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Institutional Review Board at UC Davis: IRBAdmin@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu