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Achievement rank affects performance and major choices in college


Elsner, Benjamin; Isphording, Ingo E; Zölitz, Ulf (2018). Achievement rank affects performance and major choices in college. Working paper series / Department of Economics 300, University of Zurich.

Abstract

This paper studies how a student's ordinal achievement rank affects performance and specialization choices in university. We exploit data from a setting where students are randomly assigned to teaching sections and find that students with a higher rank in their section achieve higher grades, become more likely to graduate, and are more likely to choose related follow-up courses and majors. These effects are stronger for men who, in contrast to women, respond to a higher rank with an increase in their study effort. Our results highlight that social comparisons with peers can have lasting effects on students' careers.

Abstract

This paper studies how a student's ordinal achievement rank affects performance and specialization choices in university. We exploit data from a setting where students are randomly assigned to teaching sections and find that students with a higher rank in their section achieve higher grades, become more likely to graduate, and are more likely to choose related follow-up courses and majors. These effects are stronger for men who, in contrast to women, respond to a higher rank with an increase in their study effort. Our results highlight that social comparisons with peers can have lasting effects on students' careers.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:I21, J16, J31
Uncontrolled Keywords:Rank, social comparisons, higher education, peer effects
Language:English
Date:September 2018
Deposited On:01 Oct 2018 09:06
Last Modified:01 Oct 2018 09:06
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number of Pages:47
ISSN:1664-7041
OA Status:Green
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp300.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/workingpapers.php

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