Forskningsseminar: Competition, Field of Study, and Mental Health

Katrine Løken, NHH
30. april 2019
11:45 - 12:45
Auditoriet, SSB, Akersveien 26


Katrine Løken  https://www.nhh.no/en/employees/faculty/katrine-vellesen-loken/

Competition, Field of Study, and Mental Health

Abstract: This paper studies the effect of enrolling in a more selective high school on field of study and academic achievements both in the short run (2nd and 3rd year of high school) and in the long run (higher education). Firstly, we find that enrollment at a more selective school has different effects on boys and girls. For boys, enrollment at a more selective high school decreases their total academic score across all subjects, but has no effect on choices of fields. For girls, there is no effect on the total score but a strong effect on their choice of field of study; they are more likely to choose science and less likely to choose humanities. Secondly, we do not find evidence that a more selective high school affects enrollment or field of study in higher education. Thirdly, we study mechanisms in high school. While characteristics of schools, like number of teachers and resources, do not change at the discontinuity, there is a large increase in number of girls in more selective schools. We look into whether a larger share of girls may be important as role models for the marginal girls entering the selective schools by using cohort-variation in fraction of girls in different schools over time. We find a larger fraction choosing science in years where there are many girls in the more selective schools. Finally, we are studying how the changes in environment in the more selective school may affect the mental health of the children. Going to schools with better peers and more girls might affect the mental health of girls through different mechanisms, both negatively through more competition and positively through more female role models. For boys, fewer male role models and more competition could work in the same direction.



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