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Achievement rank affects performance and major choices in college

Benjamin Elsner (), Ingo Isphording () and Ulf Zölitz

No 300, ECON - Working Papers from Department of Economics - 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.

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)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-hrm and nep-ure
Date: 2018-09
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3) Track citations by RSS feed

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:zur:econwp:300

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