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Success in the University Admission Process in Germany: Regional Provenance Matters


  • Sebastian Braun
  • Nadja Dwenger


School education in Germany is under the responsibility of the federal states and as a consequence average grades differ widely across regions. Since school leavers apply nationwide for admission to university, regional provenance may thus matter a lot for the success probability in the admission process. Using a comprehensive dataset of the German central clearing house for university admissions in 2006/2007, we show that success rates indeed differ dramatically between federal states, provided that grades are not made comparable across state boundaries. Most of the variation in success can be explained by state-level differences in grading. By defining quotas for federal states and restricting competition among applicants to the state-level, the link between state-level grading and success rates in the university admission process can be broken.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Braun & Nadja Dwenger, 2008. "Success in the University Admission Process in Germany: Regional Provenance Matters," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 789, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp789

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Braun Sebastian & Dwenger Nadja & Kübler Dorothea, 2010. "Telling the Truth May Not Pay Off: An Empirical Study of Centralized University Admissions in Germany," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-38, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Horstschräer, Julia, 2012. "University rankings in action? The importance of rankings and an excellence competition for university choice of high-ability students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1162-1176.
    2. Dwenger, Nadja & Kübler, Dorothea & Weizsäcker, Georg, 2014. "Flipping a coin: Theory and evidence," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2013-201r, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    3. Nadja Dwenger & Dorothea Kübler & Georg Weizsäcker, 2013. "Preference for Randomization: Empirical and Experimental Evidence," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2013-004, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.

    More about this item


    Admission to university; central clearing house; federalism; federal education system;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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