IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/jlabec/doi10.1086-690714.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

A Big Fish in a Small Pond: Ability Rank and Human Capital Investment

Author

Listed:
  • Benjamin Elsner
  • Ingo E. Isphording

Abstract

We study the impact of a student’s ordinal rank in a high school cohort on educational attainment several years later. To identify a causal effect, we compare multiple cohorts within the same school, exploiting idiosyncratic variation in cohort composition. We find that a student’s ordinal rank significantly affects educational outcomes later in life. Students with a higher rank are significantly more likely to finish high school and to attend college. Exploring potential channels, we find that students with a higher rank have higher expectations about their future career, as well as a higher perceived intelligence.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin Elsner & Ingo E. Isphording, 2017. "A Big Fish in a Small Pond: Ability Rank and Human Capital Investment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(3), pages 787-828.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/690714
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/690714
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/690714
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Azmat, Ghazala & Iriberri, Nagore, 2010. "The importance of relative performance feedback information: Evidence from a natural experiment using high school students," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(7-8), pages 435-452, August.
    2. David Deming & Susan Dynarski, 2008. "The Lengthening of Childhood," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 71-92, Summer.
    3. Mary A. Burke & Tim R. Sass, 2013. "Classroom Peer Effects and Student Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 51-82.
    4. Patacchini, Eleonora & Rainone, Edoardo & Zenou, Yves, 2012. "Student Networks and Long-Run Educational Outcomes: The Strength of Strong Ties," CEPR Discussion Papers 9149, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Philip Oreopoulos & Ryan Dunn, 2013. "Information and College Access: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(1), pages 3-26, January.
    6. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects of Class Size on Student Achievement: New Evidence from Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285.
    7. Jan Feld & Ulf Zölitz, 2017. "Understanding Peer Effects: On the Nature, Estimation, and Channels of Peer Effects," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 387-428.
    8. Peter Arcidiacono, 2005. "Affirmative Action in Higher Education: How Do Admission and Financial Aid Rules Affect Future Earnings?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1477-1524, September.
    9. Tran, Anh & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2012. "Rank as an inherent incentive: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 645-650.
    10. Richard Murphy & Felix Weinhardt, 2014. "Top of the Class: The Importance of Ordinal Rank," CESifo Working Paper Series 4815, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2012. "Learning about Academic Ability and the College Dropout Decision," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 707-748.
    12. Scott E. Carrell & Bruce I. Sacerdote & James E. West, 2013. "From Natural Variation to Optimal Policy? The Importance of Endogenous Peer Group Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(3), pages 855-882, May.
    13. Giacomo De Giorgi & Michele Pellizzari, 2014. "Understanding Social Interactions: Evidence from the Classroom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(579), pages 917-953, September.
    14. Cullen, Julie Berry & Long, Mark C. & Reback, Randall, 2013. "Jockeying for position: Strategic high school choice under Texas' top ten percent plan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 32-48.
    15. Justine S. Hastings & Jeffrey M. Weinstein, 2008. "Information, School Choice, and Academic Achievement: Evidence from Two Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1373-1414.
    16. Basit Zafar, 2011. "How Do College Students Form Expectations?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 301-348.
    17. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua Angrist & Parag Pathak, 2014. "The Elite Illusion: Achievement Effects at Boston and New York Exam Schools," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 137-196, January.
    18. Scott E. Carrell & Richard L. Fullerton & James E. West, 2009. "Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 439-464, July.
    19. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2015. "Determinants of College Major Choice: Identification using an Information Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 791-824.
    20. Attanasio, Orazio P. & Kaufmann, Katja M., 2014. "Education choices and returns to schooling: Mothers' and youths' subjective expectations and their role by gender," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 203-216.
    21. David J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Peer Effects in Academic Outcomes: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 9-23, February.
    22. Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd R. Stinebrickner, 2014. "A Major in Science? Initial Beliefs and Final Outcomes for College Major and Dropout," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 426-472.
    23. Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 681-704.
    24. Cristian Pop-Eleches & Miguel Urquiola, 2013. "Going to a Better School: Effects and Behavioral Responses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1289-1324, June.
    25. Tatsi, Eirini, 2015. "Endogenous Social Interactions: Which Peers Matter?," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113168, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    26. Victor Lavy & Olmo Silva & Felix Weinhardt, 2012. "The Good, the Bad, and the Average: Evidence on Ability Peer Effects in Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 367-414.
    27. Scott A. Imberman & Adriana D. Kugler & Bruce I. Sacerdote, 2012. "Katrina's Children: Evidence on the Structure of Peer Effects from Hurricane Evacuees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2048-2082, August.
    28. Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner, 2012. "Class Assignment and Peer Group Effects: Evidence from Brazilian Primary Schools," Discussion Papers in Economics 12/03, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    29. Robert Jensen, 2010. "The (Perceived) Returns to Education and the Demand for Schooling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 515-548.
    30. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long & Philip Oreopoulos & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2012. "The Role of Application Assistance and Information in College Decisions: Results from the H&R Block Fafsa Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1205-1242.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Erik O. Kimbrough & Andrew D. McGee & Hitoshi Shigeoka, 2017. "How Do Peers Impact Learning? An Experimental Investigation of Peer-to-Peer Teaching and Ability Tracking," NBER Working Papers 23439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Hinnerich, Björn Tyrefors & Vlachos, Jonas, 2017. "The impact of upper-secondary voucher school attendance on student achievement. Swedish evidence using external and internal evaluations," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-14.
    3. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Julie Moschion, 2017. "Gender gaps in early educational achievement," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(4), pages 1093-1134, October.
    4. repec:iza:izawol:journl:2018:n:440 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner, 2018. "Relative Age, Class Assignment, and Academic Performance: Evidence from Brazilian Primary Schools," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 120(1), pages 296-325, January.
    6. Michela Maria Tincani, 2017. "Heterogeneous Peer Effects and Rank Concerns: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 6331, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Michela Tincani, 2017. "Heterogeneous Peer Effects and Rank Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2017-006, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    8. Elsner, Benjamin & Isphording, Ingo E., 2015. "Rank, Sex, Drugs, and Crime," IZA Discussion Papers 9478, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/690714. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division). General contact details of provider: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.