The Effect of High-Stakes Testing on Suicidal Ideation of Teenagers with Reference-Dependent Preferences
Liang Choon Wang
Monash University - Department of Economics
June 29, 2013
This paper offers a novel explanation for why even high-performing individuals may have a high suicidal tendency when preferences are reference-dependent. Using survey data of South Korean secondary school students, this paper demonstrates that the relationship between suicidal ideation and test performance is consistent with the reference-dependent explanation. When a student’s rank in the high-stakes College Scholastic Ability Test falls below her expectation, she exhibits a higher likelihood of having suicidal ideation. The findings highlight the potentially adverse consequences of disappointment in high-stakes testing and suggest that the risk of suicide may be significant among high achievers too.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: Academic achievement, anchoring, reference-dependent preferences, suicidal ideation, mental health
JEL Classification: I12, I21, I31
Date posted: June 29, 2013 ; Last revised: September 24, 2015
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