Victor Lavy, Avraham Ebenstein, Sefi Roth, 20 November 2014

Admission to higher education often depends on the results of high-stakes tests, but assessing the consequences of having a ‘bad day’ on such tests is challenging. This column provides evidence from a dataset on Israeli high-school students. Random variations in pollution have measurable effects on exam performance, and these in turn have significant effects on students’ future educational and labour-market outcomes. The authors argue that placing too much weight on high-stakes exams may not be consistent with meritocratic principles.

Evren Örs, Frédéric Palomino, Eloïc Peyrache, 21 July 2008

What causes the persistent gender gap among high-income earners? Using entrance exams from an elite French university, this column suggests that part of the explanation may lie in gender differences in performing under competitive pressure.

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