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Common Cents: Bank Account Structure and Couples’ Relationship Dynamics
When a romantic relationship gets serious, couples often face a crucial decision about how to handle their finances: should they pool their money together or keep it separate? A fascinating study conducted with engaged or newlywed couples looked into this matter through a six-wave longitudinal experiment.
The study randomly assigned these couples to different financial arrangements, such as merging their money into a joint bank account or keeping it separate. Over a span of two years, the researchers observed how these choices influenced the quality of their relationships. Surprisingly, the couples who merged their money in a joint account experienced consistently strong relationship quality throughout this period. On the other hand, those who kept their finances separate or had no financial intervention experienced the typical decline in relationship quality over the same timeframe.
The researchers explored several potential reasons for this effect, using both experimental and correlational methods. They found evidence supporting three key mechanisms: merging finances improved how partners felt about managing money together, it promoted alignment towards shared financial goals, and it reinforced a sense of communal norm adherence—meaning they responded to each other's needs without expecting anything in return.
Previous studies have suggested a link between financial interdependence and relationship quality, but this research is the first to provide experimental evidence. The results indicate that increasing financial interdependence, like merging money in a joint account, can help newlyweds maintain stronger relationship quality throughout the initial period of marriage and possibly beyond. Understanding these dynamics can be valuable for couples considering how to approach their finances and foster a healthy and happy relationship together.
Teaching Methods and Materials in Undergraduate Economics Courses: School, Instructor, and Department Effects
Over the past 25 years, there has been minimal evolution in how the economics profession teaches undergraduate students. To address this, this study investigates how teaching methods and materials in undergraduate economics courses are influenced by school, instructor, and departmental characteristics.
To achieve this, the researchers employ a regression framework similar to a previous study by Harter, Schaur, and Watts (2015a). However, this work distinguishes itself from earlier research in several ways. It utilizes a single survey sample, provides separate descriptive statistics for different course types, introduces new dependent variables (e.g., the use of adaptive learning technologies), and presents visual representations of predicted probabilities for various variables.
Among the significant findings, the study suggests that changes in departmental policies, such as teaching loads and class sizes, as well as shifts in faculty composition and characteristics (e.g., male vs. female instructors or years of teaching experience) could unintentionally impact instructors' teaching practices.
These insights hold important implications for school and departmental policies that may influence the quality of instruction in undergraduate economics courses. By understanding how various factors affect teaching methods and materials, educators and institutions can make informed decisions to enhance the overall learning experience for undergraduate economics students.
Helping Some and Harming Others: Homework Frequency and Tradeoffs in Student Performance
In this article, the authors explore the potential benefits of increasing student learning and retention by assigning homework more frequently. They conduct a field experiment to investigate whether more frequent assignments can lead to improved knowledge retention among students. The idea is that by exposing students to the material more often and reducing procrastination, they may grasp the concepts better and perform well in their academic endeavors.
The results of the experiment reveal that the impact of this approach varies depending on the student's previous academic performance. Students who have struggled academically in the past benefit from the structured nature of more frequent assignments and tend to perform better. However, the intervention seems to have a negative effect on high-achieving students. Their final exam scores in courses with higher assignment frequency are lower compared to courses with fewer assignments.
These findings shed light on the importance of tailoring teaching strategies to individual student needs. While more frequent assignments can be advantageous for some, it may not be the best approach for high-performing students. Educators should consider these nuances when designing coursework and homework assignments to ensure the best possible outcomes for all students.