Abstract

We exploit the variation in admission cutoffs across colleges at a leading Indian university to estimate the causal effects of enrolling in a selective college on cognitive attainment, economic preferences, and Big Five personality traits. Using a regression discontinuity design, we find that enrolling in a selective college improves university exam scores of the marginally admitted females, and makes them less overconfident and less risk averse, while males in selective colleges experience a decline in extraversion and conscientiousness. We find differences in peer quality and rank concerns to be driving our findings.

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