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ERIC Number: ED545617
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Sep
Pages: 55
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 53
ISSN: ISSN-2042-2695
The Importance of Rank Position. CEP Discussion Paper No. 1241
Murphy, Richard; Weinhardt, Felix
Centre for Economic Performance
We find an individual's rank within their reference group has effects on later objective outcomes. To evaluate the impact of local rank, we use a large administrative dataset tracking over two million students in England from primary through to secondary school. Academic rank within primary school has sizable, robust and significant effects on later achievement in secondary school, conditional on national test scores. Moreover we find boys gain four times more in later test scores from being top compared to girls. We provide evidence for a mechanism using matched survey data, which shows that rank affects an individual's self-concept. The paper discusses other potential channels but concludes that malleable non-cognitive skills such as confidence and belief in own ability are most likely to generate these results. We put forward a basic model where rank effects costs and effort allocation when faced with multiple tasks. We believe this is the first large-scale study to show large and robust effects of rank position on objective outcomes of that have consequences in the labour market. The following are appended: (1) Model; (2) Peer Effects; and (3) Measurement Error in Test Scores. Five tables are also included in the appendices.
Centre for Economic Performance. London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE, UK. Tel: +44-20-7955-7673; Fax: +44-20-7404-0612; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (England)
Authoring Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (England). Centre for Economic Performance.
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)