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The impact of teachers’ expectations on students’ educational opportunities in the life course: An empirical test of a subjective expected utility explanation

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  • Dominik Becker

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to integrate the idea of Pygmalion or self-fulfilling prophecy research into the subjective expected utility framework of inequality in educational opportunities. The theoretical section develops a formal model about the impact of teachers’ expectations on students’ educational transitions in sense of a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the empirical section, I test this model to predict both students’ educational success (in terms of high school graduations) and their university transitions. Analyses control for selection bias and unobserved heterogeneity by means of a bivariate probit model. I find that even net of both students’ performance and motivation, teachers’ expectations show significant effects on students’ educational success ( Abitur ), but not on their university transitions. This finding is stable against several robustness checks.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominik Becker, 2013. "The impact of teachers’ expectations on students’ educational opportunities in the life course: An empirical test of a subjective expected utility explanation," Rationality and Society, , vol. 25(4), pages 422-469, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ratsoc:v:25:y:2013:i:4:p:422-469
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