This study examines the effect of role models on student hope and effort. A growing body of literature in behavioural economics indicates that hopefulness is associated with superior academic and athletic performance. Hope can be an instigator of higher goal-setting and effort. A randomised controlled trial (RCT) is conducted to examine the effect of a role-modelling intervention in primary school students aged 9-11 years in Jaipur, India. The experimental treatment comprises of three motivational short-films that aim to influence the mental models of the participants by exposing them to comparable and relatable protagonists that succeeded in achieving their aspirations through hope and hard work. Student effort is measured directly as an aggregate of two indicators: attendance at a remedial class and third party observations in a substitution class. Accompanying survey instruments and Snyder’s Children’s Hope Scale (CHS) track the psychological effects on hope. The primary objective of the research is to: (i) test if hope is malleable, and (ii) offer a cost-effective and scalable intervention that not only increases children's hope but also translates into higher effort and improved academic performance.
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