Skip to Content

Health, History, Demography & Development (H2D2): Biased Beliefs, Performance and Career Aspirations: Design of an RCT in Colombia

Catalina Franco, University of Michigan
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
11:30 AM-1:00 PM
201 Lorch Hall Map

Evidence from lab experiments reveals that individuals hold biased beliefs about their relative ability, and that the biases differ by gender and can affect decision-making (e.g. Niederle and Vesterlund, 2007). There is, however, little evidence on the relevance of beliefs in settings outside of the lab. To contribute to filling this gap, I conduct a pilot of a field experiment with students preparing to take a college admission exam in Colombia. I provide evidence of biases in beliefs about relative performance assessment and whether providing feedback can correct biased priors and affect: (i) effort (number of hours studying for a test), (ii) performance in practice tests, and (iii) career aspirations (majors considered / declared). Preliminary findings suggest that there are substantial biases in assessing own performance in practice tests. Across all areas of the test, between 50 and 70 percent of the students fail to correctly predict the quartile in which their score will be. Moreover, women are more biased than men by underestimating their performance in math and science and overestimating it in text analysis. With the current sample size, the treatment effects of providing feedback are quite noisy but suggest that individuals respond to the signal they receive by adjusting perceived difficulty and study time allocation across subjects. Results about their performance in the real test and college major choices are coming soon.
Building: Lorch Hall
Event Type: Workshop / Seminar
Tags: Economics, History, seminar
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Health, History, Demography and Development (H2D2), Department of Economics, Department of Economics Seminars