The Effect of High-Stakes Testing on Suicidal Ideation of Teenagers with Reference-Dependent Preferences
Liang Choon Wang
Monash University - Department of Economics
November 19, 2013
This paper shows that with reference-dependent preferences, the relationship between an individual’s suicidal tendency and her test performance may not be inversely related as standard economic models of suicide would predict. Using survey data of South Korean secondary school students, I show that the relationship between suicidal ideation and test performance is consistent with reference-dependent preferences. When a student’s rank in the high-stakes College Scholastic Ability Test falls below her rank in a prior national examination, she exhibits greater suicide risks. The findings highlight the potential adverse consequences of disappointment in high-stakes testing and suggest that suicide risks may also be high among high-achievers.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: High-Stakes Testing, Reference-Dependent Preference, Suicide, Suicidal Ideation
JEL Classification: I12, I21, I31
Date posted: June 29, 2013 ; Last revised: November 20, 2013
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