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A Signaling Theory Of Grade Inflation

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  • William Chan
  • Li Hao
  • Wing Suen

Abstract

When employers cannot tell whether a school truly has many good students or just gives easy grades, a school has incentives to inflate grades to help its mediocre students, despite concerns about preserving the value of good grades for its good students. We construct a signaling model where grades are inflated in equilibrium. The inability to commit to an honest grading policy reduces the efficiency of job assignment and hurts a school. Grade inflation by one school makes it easier for another school to do likewise, thus providing a channel to make grade exaggeration contagious. Copyright 2007 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 48 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (08)
Pages: 1065-1090

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:48:y:2007:i:3:p:1065-1090

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Cited by:
  1. Alessandro Tampieri, 2009. "Social Background Effects on School and Job Opportunities," Discussion Papers in Economics 09/26, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Sep 2010.
  2. Rebecca Summary & William Weber, 2012. "Grade inflation or productivity growth? An analysis of changing grade distributions at a regional university," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 95-107, August.
  3. Damiano, Ettore & Li, Hao & Suen, Wing, 2008. "Credible ratings," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(3), September.
  4. Babcock, Phillip, 2009. "Real Costs of Nominal Grade Inflation? New Evidence from Student Course Evaluations," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4823c3jx, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  5. Himmler, Oliver & Schwager, Robert, 2007. "Double Standards in Educational Standards: Are Disadvantaged Students Being Graded More Leniently?," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-016, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  6. Schwager, Robert, 2012. "Grade inflation, social background, and labour market matching," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 56-66.
  7. Sergey V. Popov & Dan Bernhardt, 2013. "University Competition, Grading Standards, And Grade Inflation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1764-1778, 07.
  8. Gwendolyn R. Tecson, 2011. "Trends in Grades, UP School of Economics," UP School of Economics Discussion Papers 201102, University of the Philippines School of Economics.
  9. A. Tampieri, 2011. "Students' Social Origins and Targeted Grade Inflation," Working Papers wp801, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  10. Maria De Paola, 2011. "Easy grading practices and supply–demand factors: evidence from Italy," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 227-246, October.
  11. Cory Koedel, 2010. "Grading Standards in Education Departments at Universities," Working Papers 1002, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 13 Jun 2011.
  12. Maria, De Paola, 2008. "Are easy grading practices induced by low demand? Evidence from Italy," MPRA Paper 14425, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Rick Harbaugh & Eric Rasmusen, 2012. "Coarse Grades: Informing the Public by Withholding Information," Working Papers 2012-06, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.

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