Felix Weinhardt

DIW Berlin
Mohrenstraße 58
10117 Berlin

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2018Top of the Class: The Importance of Ordinal Rank
with Richard Murphy: w24958
This paper establishes a new fact about educational production: ordinal academic rank during primary school has long-run impacts that are independent from underlying ability. Using data on the universe of English school students, we exploit naturally occurring differences in achievement distributions across primary school classes to estimate the impact of class rank conditional on relative achievement. We find large effects on test scores, confidence and subject choice during secondary school, where students have a new set of peers and teachers who are unaware of the students’ prior ranking. The effects are especially large for boys, contributing to an observed gender gap in end-of-high school STEM subject choices. Using a basic model of student effort allocation across subjects, we derive...
June 2015ICT and Education: Evidence from Student Home Addresses
with Benjamin Faber, Rosa Sanchis-Guarner: w21306
Governments are making it a priority to upgrade information and communication technologies (ICT) with the aim to increase available internet connection speeds. This paper presents a new empirical strategy to estimate the causal effects of these policies, and applies it to the questions of whether and how ICT upgrades affect educational attainment. We draw on a rich collection of microdata that allows us to link administrative test score records for the population of English primary and secondary school students to the available ICT at their home addresses. To base estimations on exogenous variation in ICT, we notice that the boundaries of usually invisible telephone exchange station catchment areas give rise to substantial and essentially randomly placed jumps in the available ICT across n...
December 2009The Good, the Bad and the Average: Evidence on the Scale and Nature of Ability Peer Effects in Schools
with Victor Lavy, Olmo Silva: w15600
In this paper, we study ability peer effects in secondary schools in England and identify which segments of the peer ability distribution drive the impact of peer quality on students‟ achievements. To do so, we use census data for four cohorts of pupils taking their age-14 national tests, and measure students‟ ability by their prior achievements at age-11. We employ a new identification strategy based on within-pupil regressions that exploit variation in achievements across the three compulsory subjects (English, Mathematics and Science) tested both at age-14 and age-11. We find significant and sizeable negative peer effects arising from bad peers at the very bottom of the ability distribution, but little evidence that average peer quality and very good peers significantly affect pupils‟ a...

Published: The Good, The Bad and The Average: Evidence on Ability Peer Effects in Schools (with Olmo Silva and Felix Weinhardt), Journal of Labor Economics, April 2012

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