Differential Grading Standards and University Funding: Evidence from Italy
This paper documents that grades vary significantly across Italian public universities and degrees. We provide evidence suggesting that these differences reflect the heterogeneity of grading standards. A straightforward implication of this result is that university funding schemes based on students' academic performance do not necessary favour universities that generate higher value added. We test this for the case of the Italian funds allocation system, which rewards universities according to the number of exams passed by their students. We find that university departments that rank higher according to this indicator actually tend to be significantly worse in terms of their graduates' performance in the labour market.
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