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Which factors determine academic performance of Economics freshers? Some Spanish evidence


  • Juan J. Dolado

    (Universidad Carlos III & CEPR & IZA)

  • Eduardo Morales

    (Harvard University)


This paper analyses the impact of several factors potentially affecting academic performance of first-year undergraduates (freshers) in Economics at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid during 2002-2005. Outcomes are the grades obtained in three core subjects which differ substantially in their requirements of math skills. Our main finding is that those students who completed a technical track at high school tend to perform much better in math-intensive subjects than those who followed a social sciences track and that the latter do not perform better in subjects where prior training in economics is bound to be helpful.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan J. Dolado & Eduardo Morales, 2009. "Which factors determine academic performance of Economics freshers? Some Spanish evidence," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 33(2), pages 179-210, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:iec:inveco:v:33:y:2009:i:2:p:179-210

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hanushek, Eric A, 1995. "Interpreting Recent Research on Schooling in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 10(2), pages 227-246, August.
    2. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    3. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1999. "School Inputs and Educational Outcomes in South Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 1047-1084.
    4. Glewwe, Paul & Kremer, Michael, 2006. "Schools, Teachers, and Education Outcomes in Developing Countries," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    5. Lorraine Dearden & Javier Ferri & Costas Meghir, 2002. "The Effect Of School Quality On Educational Attainment And Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 1-20, February.
    6. Dolado, Juan J. & Morales, Eduardo, 2007. "Which Factors Determine Academic Performance of Undergraduate Students in Economics? Some Spanish Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6237, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Jesse Levin, 2001. "For whom the reductions count: A quantile regression analysis of class size and peer effects on scholastic achievement," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 221-246.
    8. Johan N. M. Lagerlöf & Andrew J. Seltzer, 2009. "The Effects of Remedial Mathematics on the Learning of Economics: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 115-137, April.
    9. Smith, Jeremy & Naylor, Robin, 2001. " Determinants of Degree Performance in UK Universities: A Statistical Analysis of the 1993 Student Cohort," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(1), pages 29-60, February.
    10. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 3-33, February.
    11. Stéphane Bonhomme & Ulrich Sauder, 2009. "Accounting for Unobservables in Comparing Selective and Comprehensive Schooling," Working Papers wp2009_0906, CEMFI.
    12. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-1177, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dino Alves & Ana Balcao Reis & Carmo Seabra & Luis Catela-Nunes, 2015. "Determinants of Academic Success in Economics and Management," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 10,in: Marta Rahona López & Jennifer Graves (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 10, edition 1, volume 10, chapter 17, pages 335-356 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    2. Cristina Lopez-Mayan, 2013. "Performance in Post-compulsory Education: Evidence from Vocational and Academic Tracks," Working Papers wpdea1302, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.

    More about this item


    Academic performance; pre-university determinants; selection biases; quantile regressions.;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I29 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Other


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