Playing the Admissions Game: Student Reactions to Increasing College Competition

54 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2009 Last revised: 25 Sep 2010

See all articles by John Bound

John Bound

University of Michigan; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Brad Hershbein

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Bridget Long

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: August 2009

Abstract

Gaining entrance to a four-year college or university, particularly a selective institution, has become increasingly competitive over the last several decades. We document this phenomenon and show how it has varied across different parts of the student ability distribution and across region, with the most pronounced increases in competition being found among higher-ability students and in the Northeast. Additionally, we explore how the college preparatory behavior of high school seniors has changed in response to the growth in competition. We also discuss the theoretical implications of increased competition on longer-term measures of learning and achievement and attempt to test them empirically; the evidence and related literature, while limited, suggests little long-term benefit.

Suggested Citation

Bound, John and Hershbein, Brad and Long, Bridget, Playing the Admissions Game: Student Reactions to Increasing College Competition (August 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15272. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1459573

John Bound (Contact Author)

University of Michigan ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Brad Hershbein

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research ( email )

Bridget Long

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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