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Contribution Details

Type Working Paper
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title Achievement rank affects performance and major choices in college
Organization Unit
  • Benjamin Elsner
  • Ingo E Isphording
  • Ulf Zölitz
  • English
Institution University of Zurich
Series Name Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number 300
ISSN 1664-7041
Number of Pages 47
Date 2018
Abstract Text 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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Keywords Rank, social comparisons, higher education, peer effects, Peer-Group, Studienfachwahl, Studienleistung, Geschlechtsunterschied