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The Effect of High-Stakes Testing on Suicidal Ideation of Teenagers with Reference-Dependent Preferences

34 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2013 Last revised: 24 Sep 2015

Liang Choon Wang

Monash University - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 29, 2013

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Academic achievement, anchoring, reference-dependent preferences, suicidal ideation, mental health

JEL Classification: I12, I21, I31

Suggested Citation

Wang, Liang Choon, The Effect of High-Stakes Testing on Suicidal Ideation of Teenagers with Reference-Dependent Preferences (June 29, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2189268 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2189268

Liang Choon Wang (Contact Author)

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/liangchoonwang/

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