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Admission to Selective Schools, Alphabetically

  • Jurajda, Stepan
  • Münich, Daniel

One's position in an alphabetically sorted list may be important in determining access to rationed goods or oversubscribed public services. Motivated by anecdotal evidence, we investigate the importance of the position in the alphabet of the last name initial of Czech students for their admission chances into oversubscribed schools. Empirical evidence based on the population of students applying to universities in 1999 suggests that, among marginal applicants, moving from the top to the bottom of the alphabet decreases admission chances by over 2%. The implication of such admission procedures for student ability sorting across differently oversubscribed schools is then confirmed by evidence based on a national survey of secondary students' test scores.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5427.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5427
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  1. Jurajda, Stepan & Münich, Daniel, 2006. "Admission to Selective Schools, Alphabetically," CEPR Discussion Papers 5427, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Maia Guell & Jose V. Rodriguez Mora & Christopher I. Telmer, 2013. "Intergenerational Mobility and the Informative Content of Surnames," ESE Discussion Papers 229, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  3. Bas Jacobs & Frederick Van Der Ploeg, 2006. "Guide to reform of higher education: a European perspective," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 21(47), pages 535-592, 07.
  4. André Sapir & Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Andreu Mas-Colell, 2008. "Higher aspirations: An agenda for reforming European universities," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/174284, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. GINSBURGH, Victor & van OURS, Jan, 2002. "Expert opinion and compensation: evidence from a musical competition," CORE Discussion Papers 2002033, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 9873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Öckert, Björn, 2010. "What's the value of an acceptance letter? Using admissions data to estimate the return to college," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 504-516, August.
  8. Saku Aura, 2004. "What's in a Name?," Working Papers 0407, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 16 Dec 2004.
  9. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "The Causes and Consequences of Distinctively Black Names," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 767-805, August.
  10. Filer, Randall K. & Jurajda, Stepan & Planovsky, Jan, 1999. "Education and wages in the Czech and Slovak Republics during transition," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 581-593, November.
  11. Claudia Goldin & Maria Shim, 2004. "Making a Name: Women's Surnames at Marriage and Beyond," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 143-160, Spring.
  12. Randall K. Filer & Daniel Münich, 2001. "Responses of Private and Public Schools to Voucher Funding:The Czech and Hungarian Experience," HEW 0012002, EconWPA.
  13. C. Mirjam Van Praag & Bernard M.S. Van Praag, 2008. "The Benefits of Being Economics Professor A (rather than Z)," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(300), pages 782-796, November.
  14. Liran Einav & Leeat Yariv, 2006. "What's in a Surname? The Effects of Surname Initials on Academic Success," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 175-187, Winter.
  15. Handa, Sudhanshu & Gordon, Peter-John, 1999. "University admissions policy in a developing country: evidence from the University of the West Indies," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 279-289, April.
  16. M. Dolores Collado & Ignacio Ortuño Ortín & Andrés Romeu, 2008. "Surnames and social status in Spain," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 32(3), pages 259-287, September.
  17. Štìpán Jurajda, 2005. "Czech Relative Wages and Returns to Schooling: Does the Short Supply of College Education Bite? (in English)," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 55(1-2), pages 83-95, January.
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