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Top of the Class: The Importance of Ordinal Rank

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  • Richard Murphy
  • Felix Weinhardt

Abstract

This paper examines the long-run impact of ordinal rank during primary school on productivity using comprehensive English administrative data. Identification is obtained from variation in test score distributions across cohorts and subjects, such that the same score relative to the class mean can have different ranks. Conditional on cardinal measures of achievement, being ranked highly during primary school has large effects on secondary school achievement, with the impact of rank being more important for boys than girls. Using additional survey data we find that the development of confidence is the most likely mechanisms for this effect on task-specific productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Murphy & Felix Weinhardt, 2014. "Top of the Class: The Importance of Ordinal Rank," CESifo Working Paper Series 4815, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4815
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    Cited by:

    1. Elsner, Benjamin & Isphording, Ingo, 2015. "Big Fishes in Small Ponds: Ability Rank and Human Capital Investment," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112928, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Speer, Jamin D., 2017. "The gender gap in college major: Revisiting the role of pre-college factors," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 69-88.
    3. Michela Maria Tincani, 2017. "Heterogeneous Peer Effects and Rank Concerns: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 6331, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Beland, Louis-Philippe & Murphy, Richard, 2016. "Ill Communication: Technology, distraction & student performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 61-76.
    5. Lionel Page & Dipanwita Sarkar & Juliana S. Goncalves, 2015. "The older the bolder? Does relative age among peers influence children's confidence and risk attitudes?," QuBE Working Papers 029, QUT Business School.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Ballatore, Rosario Maria & Paccagnella, Marco & Tonello, Marco, 2017. "Bullied because younger than my mates? The effect of age rank on victimization at school," GLO Discussion Paper Series 116, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    9. David Card & Laura Giuliano, 2016. "Can Tracking Raise the Test Scores of High-Ability Minority Students?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 2783-2816, October.
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    11. Luc Behaghel & Clément de Chaisemartin & Marc Gurgand, 2017. "Ready for Boarding? The Effects of a Boarding School for Disadvantaged Students," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 140-164, January.
    12. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:313-342 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:bla:econom:v:84:y:2017:i:336:p:712-747 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Dasgupta, Utteeyo & Mani, Subha & Sharma, Smriti & Singhal, Saurabh, 2017. "Cognitive, Socioemotional and Behavioral Returns to College Quality," IZA Discussion Papers 10701, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. repec:eee:joepsy:v:63:y:2017:i:c:p:43-81 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Michela Tincani, 2017. "Heterogeneous Peer Effects and Rank Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2017-006, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    17. Jalava, Nina & Joensen, Juanna Schrøter & Pellas, Elin, 2015. "Grades and rank: Impacts of non-financial incentives on test performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 161-196.
    18. Damgaard, Mette Trier & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2018. "Nudging in education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 313-342.
    19. Elsner, Benjamin & Isphording, Ingo E., 2015. "Rank, Sex, Drugs, and Crime," IZA Discussion Papers 9478, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Goulas, Sofoklis & Megalokonomou, Rigissa, 2015. "Knowing who you are: The Effect of Feedback Information on Short and Long Term Outcomes," Economic Research Papers 270019, University of Warwick - Department of Economics.
    21. Koch, Alexander & Nafziger, Julia & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2015. "Behavioral economics of education," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 3-17.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    rank; non-cognitive skills; peer effects; productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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