nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2019‒06‒24
three papers chosen by

  1. The Heterogeneous Effects of Early Track Assignment on Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills By Maria Cotofan; Ron Diris; Trudie Schils
  2. Anticipating Peer Ranking Causes Hormonal Adaptations that Benefit Cognitive Performance By Carsten de Dreu; Klarita Gërxhani; Arthur Schram
  3. Effects of Class-Size Reduction on Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills By ITO Hirotake; NAKAMURO Makiko; YAMAGUCHI Shintaro

  1. By: Maria Cotofan (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Ron Diris (Maastricht University); Trudie Schils (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Previous findings on (fleeting) relative age effects in school suggest that, given innate ability, too few younger and too many older students attend academic tracks. Using a regression discontinuity design around school-specific admission thresholds, we estimate the cognitive and non-cognitive effects of track assignment at the achievement margin, across relative age. We find that attending the higher track does not affect cognitive outcomes at any relative age. For older students, attending the higher track increases perseverance, need for achievement, and emotional stability. The results suggest that older students compensate lower ability (given high track attendance) with higher effort.
    Keywords: educational economics, school tracking, relative age, non-cognitive skills
    JEL: J24 I21
    Date: 2019–06–07
  2. By: Carsten de Dreu (Leiden University); Klarita Gërxhani (European University Institute); Arthur Schram (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Performance ranking is common across a range of professional and recreational domains. Even when it has no economic consequences but does order people in terms of their social standing, anticipating such performance ranking may impact how people feel and perform. We examined this possibility by asking human subjects to execute a simple cognitive task while anticipating their performance being ranked by an outside evaluator. We measured baseline and post-performance levels of testosterone and cortisol. We find that (i) anticipating performance ranking reduces testosterone and increases cortisol; (ii) both these hormonal responses benefit cognitive performance; which explains why (iii) anticipation of being ranked by a peer increases cognitive performance.
    Date: 2019–06–10
  3. By: ITO Hirotake; NAKAMURO Makiko; YAMAGUCHI Shintaro
    Abstract: We estimate the effects of class-size reduction by exploiting exogenous variation caused by Maimonides' rule, which requires that the maximum class size be 40 students and classes be split when 41 or more students are enrolled. Our data cover all fourth to ninth graders in 1,064 public schools in an anonymous prefecture for three years. We find that the effects of class-size reduction on academic test scores are small on average, but slightly stronger for students not going to a private tutoring school. We find no evidence that small class size improves non-cognitive skills. Our substantive conclusion does not change when controlling for school fixed effects.
    Date: 2019–05

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