DemoSoc seminar by Tamás Keller

DemoSoc seminar by Tamás Keller

DemoSoc seminar

"Yes, You Can! Effects of Increasing Transparency in Admission Standards on Secondary School Track Choice: A Randomized Field Experiment in Hungary.Please find bellow the abstract"


Presenter: Tamás Keller

Date: 02/05/2019

Time: 12.00 h

Place: 24.015



In many countries, track choice in secondary school determines students’ future educational opportunities and subsequent life chances. Not all academically qualified students, however, choose a track that can lead to tertiary education. We hypothesize that some interested and qualified students eschew the academic track because they overestimate the hurdles to admission. Therefore, we designed an information campaign that communicates otherwise unknown admission standards to Hungarian primary school students in order to encourage applications to the academic track. In contrast to prior randomized experiments, our intervention focused exclusively on publicizing admissions standards and did not provide information about the economic rewards of tertiary education. We carried out a pair-matched cluster-randomized field experiment involving 702 students in 39 eighth-grade classrooms of 26 primary schools and targeted a subset of students. We estimated the effect of the intervention on the targeted students as well as spillover effects on their non-targeted classmates. We found neither a targeted nor a spillover effect on students’ application behavior overall. However, further analyses found theoretically plausible evidence that providing more precise information about admission standards increased applications to the academic track among students who had a pre-existing interest in the academic track but believed their chances of admission to be low. We discuss implications for social inequality in secondary track choice.