Workforce Development Agency (WDA)
The Singapore WDA offers a Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) training program to upgrade skills in the retail and service sectors for interested individuals. A wide range of modules covering different topics are offered at a very affordable price ($41 per course), thanks to significant government subsidy. Despite the attractiveness of the WSQ program, a majority of participants did not complete their coursework. A field experiment is designed to investigate how direct incentives can encourage people to take and complete the courses. The experiment consists of two parts. First, there will be two forms of incentives: one can choose to either receive a cash reward of $82 after he has completed two courses and passed the assessments, or take the courses free of charge. We test whether these two forms of incentives differ in terms of encouraging individuals to take more courses. Second, we offer two forms of sign-up: the committed sign-up condition in which participants are required to indicate their desired courses and stick to a fixed schedule, and the flexi sign-up condition in which participants can take their time to think about their desired courses and when they wish to take them. The purpose of this is to test whether these sign-up methods affect actual completion of the course.
As such, participants will be placed in 1 of the 4 groups;
- Cash reward and the committed sign-up condition
- Cash reward and a flexi sign-up condition
- Free courses and the committed sign-up condition
- Free courses and the flexi sign-up condition
There will also be a fifth group of participants who have to pay full fees and stick to the schedule determined by Singapore WDA. The number of participants in each group will be measured and compared to evaluate the effectiveness of the incentives. This will allow us to examine whether the incentives provided for taking two courses can motivate individuals to take additional modules and complete the program.