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Achievement Rank Affects Performance and Major Choices in College

Benjamin Elsner (), Ingo E. Isphording () and Ulf Zölitz
Additional contact information
Benjamin Elsner: University College Dublin
Ingo E. Isphording: IZA

No 14320, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

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.

Keywords: rank; social comparisons; higher education; peer effects (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 J16 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 57 pages
Date: 2021-04
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Forthcoming - forthcoming in: Economic Journal

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https://ftp.iza.org/dp14320.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: Achievement Rank Affects Performance and Major Choices in College (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: Achievement Rank Affects Performance and Major Choices in College (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: Achievement Rank Affects Performance and Major Choices in College (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: Achievement Rank Affects Performance and Major Choices in College (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: Achievement Rank Affects Performance and Major Choices in College (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: Achievement rank affects performance and major choices in college (2018) Downloads
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