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The Impact of College Admissions Policies on The Performance of High School Students

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  • Nicolas Grau

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

This paper empirically evaluates the effects of college admissions policies on high school student performance. To this end, I build a model where high school students decide their level of effort and whether to take the college admissions test, taking into consideration how those decisions may affect their future university admission chances. Using Chilean data for the 2009 college admissions process, I structurally estimate the parameters of the model in order to study the implications of two types of counterfactual experiments: (a) a SES-Quota system, which imposes the population’s SES distribution for each university; (b) increasing the high school GPA weight. The results from these exercises support the claim that increasing the level of equal college opportunities may boost the amount of effort exerted by high school students. Specifically, I find that:(1) average effort significantly increases as opportunities are equalized across different socioeconomic groups. (2) There is a moderate improvement in high school student performance, which is relatively important for certain groups. (3) The highest reactions in terms of exerted effort come from those students who also change their decision about taking the college admissions test. (4) Neither of these policies increases the percentage of students taking the national test for college admission, which is consistent with the fact that in this policy implementation there are winners and losers. However, there are relevant variations in who is taking such a test; in particular, this percentage increases for low-income students and those who have higher level of learning skills. (5) Because the SES-Quota system uses the existing information more efficiently, it implies a more efficient student allocation to equalize opportunities.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Grau, 2013. "The Impact of College Admissions Policies on The Performance of High School Students," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-040, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:13-040
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    2. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    3. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1491-1527.
    4. Dennis Epple & Richard Romano & Holger Sieg, 2006. "Admission, Tuition, and Financial Aid Policies in the Market for Higher Education," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(4), pages 885-928, July.
    5. Ozkan Eren & Daniel J. Henderson, 2008. "The impact of homework on student achievement," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 11(2), pages 326-348, July.
    6. Jorge Rodríguez & Sergio Urzúa & Loreto Reyes, 2016. "Heterogeneous Economic Returns to Post-Secondary Degrees: Evidence from Chile," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(2), pages 416-460.
    7. Roland Fryer & Glenn C. Loury & Tolga Yuret, 2003. "Color-Blind Affirmative Action," NBER Working Papers 10103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric R. Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1999. "Does It Pay to Attend an Elite Private College? Cross-Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Type on Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 104-123.
    9. Stinebrickner, Ralph & Stinebrickner, T.R.Todd R., 2004. "Time-use and college outcomes," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 243-269.
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    Cited by:

    1. Verbetsky, Alexey D. & Friedman, Alla A., 2016. "Universities’ Admission Policy and Student Competition," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 5, pages 68-91, October.
    2. Вербецкий Алексей Дмитриевич & Фридман Алла Александровна, 2016. "Политика Приема В Вузы И Конкуренция Абитуриентов," Economic policy Экономическая политика, CyberLeninka;Автономная некоммерческая организация «Редакция журнала “Экономическая политика”», vol. 11(5), pages 68-91.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    College admission; affirmative action; high school student effort; structural estimation; factor models; ex-ante policy evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • C38 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Classification Methdos; Cluster Analysis; Principal Components; Factor Analysis
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • C54 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Quantitative Policy Modeling
    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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