Elsner, Benjamin Isphording, Ingo Eduard Zölitz, Ulf
Year of Publication:
Working Paper No. 300
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.
Rank social comparisons higher education peer effects