The Long Run Human Capital and Economic Consequences of High-Stakes Examinations

Victor Lavy, Avraham Ebenstein, Sefi Roth

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

Cognitive performance during high-stakes exams can be affected by random disturbances that, even if transitory, may have permanent consequences for long-term schooling attainment and labor market outcomes. We evaluate this hypothesis among Israeli high school students who took a series of high stakes matriculation exams between 2000 and 2002. As a source of random (transitory) shocks to high- stakes matriculation test scores, we use exposure to ambient air pollution during the day of the exam. First, we document a significant and negative relationship between average PM2.5 exposure during exams and student composite scores, post-secondary educational attainment, and earnings during adulthood. Second, using PM2.5 as an instrument, we estimate a large economic return to each point on the exam and each additional year of post-secondary education. Third, we examine the return to exam scores and schooling across sub-populations, and find the largest effects among boys, better students, and children from higher socio-economic backgrounds. The results suggest that random disturbances during high-stakes examinations can have long-term consequences for schooling and labor market outcomes, while also highlighting the drawbacks of using high-stakes examinations in university admissions.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge, Mass
PublisherNational Bureau of Economic Research
Number of pages1
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameNBER working paper series
PublisherNational Bureau of Economic Research
Volumeno. w20647

Bibliographical note

October 2014.

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The Long Run Human Capital and Economic Consequences of High-Stakes Examinations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this