UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome Juanjuan Zhang, MIT Sloan, to host a research seminar discussing ‘Knowledge Acquisition is a Moral Duty’
We conducted a large-scale field experiment with more than 10,000 primary school students in China over three years. A random subset of students were offered a course on morality. These students on average experienced a significant gain in academic performance. The effect is persistent over time, and is stronger for more senior students. Additional analysis suggests that the gain in academic performance is driven by greater sense of moral duty induced by the course. We rule out alternative explanations such as competition, extrinsic motivation, environment change, reciprocity, and the mere observation effect. We discuss implications of the findings for knowledge acquisition in the age of artificial intelligence.