Am I the Big Fish? The Effect of Ordinal Rank on Student Academic Performance in Middle School
74 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2018 Last revised: 6 Sep 2019
Date Written: March 25, 2019
This paper investigates the causal effect of ordinal rank on students' academic performance in the short run. This paper provides the first direct evidence of the relationship between objective rank and students' self-perceived rank, as well as of the impact of the self-perceived rank on students' academic attainments. The results show that students' objective rank has a significant positive effect on students' test scores. Nonetheless, when self-perceived rank and the objectively measured rank are considered simultaneously, the self-perceived rank dominates the effect on the students' educational achievement, indicating that the objective rank largely functions as a proxy for the rank of which students are aware. Taking advantage of the very detailed survey questions aimed at students, parents, and teachers, a large set of potential mechanisms are examined in the paper.
Keywords: Self-Perceived Ordinal Rank; China; Academic Achievement
JEL Classification: I21; J24
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