Achievement Rank Affects Performance and Major Choices in College

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Title: Achievement Rank Affects Performance and Major Choices in College
Authors: Elsner, BenjaminIsphording, Ingo E.Zölitz, Ulf
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Date: Apr-2021
Online since: 2021-05-31T11:47:44Z
Abstract: This paper studies how a student’s ordinal rank in a peer group affects performance and specialisation choices in university. By exploiting data with repeated random assignment of students to teaching sections, we find that a higher rank increases performance and the probability of choosing related follow-up courses and majors. We document two types of dynamic effects. First, earlier ranks are less important than later ranks. Second, responses to rank changes are asymmetric: improvements in rank raise performance, while decreases in rank have no effect. Rank effects partially operate through students’ expectations about future grades.
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. School of Economics
Start page: 1
End page: 54
Series/Report no.: UCD Centre for Economic Research Working Paper Series; WP2021/10
Copyright (published version): 2021 the Authors
Keywords: RankSocial comparisonsHigher educationPeer effects
JEL Codes: I21; J16; J31
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License:
Appears in Collections:Economics Working Papers & Policy Papers

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