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Universities’ Admission Policy and Student Competition


  • Verbetsky, Alexey D.

    () (Center for Public Policy and Public Administration, School of Public Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration)

  • Friedman, Alla A.

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)


The article models the competition of high school graduates for state-financed admission to the prestigious universities and analyze the impact of admission policy design on students’ choice. Under limited supply, the admission is based on the applicants’ rating composed on the basis of the Unified State Exam (USE) results, academic olimpics and other achievements. High school graduates allocate their efforts between specific training for standardized tests and learning. The latter is more efficient in terms of human capital building but less efficient in terms of improving exam scores. The cut-off final score is used to balance demand and supply. By changing the weight of non-exam activities in the final score, universities affect the distribution of effort by high-school graduates. It is shown that the possibility of training-for-exam increases students’ expected exam scores, but does not change the students ranking and does not distort the allocation of students between prestigious universities and other higher education institutions. It results however in substitution of learning for training that deteriorates human capital and worsens the quality of enrolment. The optimal design of admission policy in presence of training-for-exam should place higher weight to the academic olimpics and other non-exam achievements. At the national level, the frequent changes in the content and the format of USE tests could be used as a partial remedy

Suggested Citation

  • Verbetsky, Alexey D. & Friedman, Alla A., 2016. "Universities’ Admission Policy and Student Competition," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 5, pages 68-91, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:rnp:ecopol:ep1654

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Parag A. Pathak & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "The New York City High School Match," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 364-367, May.
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    3. Liu, Liqun & Neilson, William S., 2011. "High scores but low skills," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 507-516, June.
    4. De Fraja, Gianni & Iossa, Elisabetta, 2002. "Competition among Universities and the Emergence of the Elite Institution," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 275-293, July.
    5. Peresetsky, Anatoly & Davtian, Misak, 2011. "Russian USE and olympiads as instruments for university admission selection," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 23(3), pages 41-56.
    6. Юдкевич М. М. & Прахов И. А., 2012. "Влияние Дохода Домохозяйств На Результаты Егэ И Выбор Вуза," Вопросы образования // Educational Studies, НИУ ВШЭ, issue 1, pages 126-147.
    7. Parag A. Pathak & Tayfun Sönmez, 2013. "School Admissions Reform in Chicago and England: Comparing Mechanisms by Their Vulnerability to Manipulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 80-106, February.
    8. Bai, Chong-en & Chi, Wei & Qian, Xiaoye, 2014. "Do college entrance examination scores predict undergraduate GPAs? A tale of two universities," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 632-647.
    9. Psacharopoulos, George & Papakonstantinou, George, 2005. "The real university cost in a "free" higher education country," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 103-108, February.
    10. Nicolas Grau, 2013. "The Impact of College Admissions Policies on The Performance of High School Students," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-040, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    11. Peter Arcidiacono & Michael Lovenheim, 2016. "Affirmative Action and the Quality-Fit Trade-Off," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(1), pages 3-51, March.
    12. Mark Hoekstra, 2009. "The Effect of Attending the Flagship State University on Earnings: A Discontinuity-Based Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 717-724, November.
    13. Rothstein, J.M.Jesse M., 2004. "College performance predictions and the SAT," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 297-317.
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    More about this item


    higher education; effort choice; human capital; admission policy;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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