Subject variety and incentives to learn: Evidence from public high school admission policies in Japan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper provides evidence on whether mandating wider subject variety on high school entrance exams affects long-term educational achievement using Japanese historical experiences. In Japan, where high school education is non-compulsory, prefectural boards of education have retained the freedom to set admission criteria for public high schools within their prefecture, including the number of subjects tested on entrance exams. Using prefectural-level panel data, we estimate the effect of the number and choice of subjects tested at the time of high school entrance on the probability of college attendance three years later. We find that the variety of subjects tested has a positive effect on the later college enrollment. Our findings are broadly consistent with the incentive theory of testing (Lazear, 2006) and the empirical results from other countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100981
JournalJapan and The World Economy
Volume52
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec

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Japan
incentive
choice of subjects
school
evidence
school education
Incentives
Admission
High school
education
experience
Education
time

Keywords

  • College enrollment
  • Curriculum
  • Education policy
  • High school exam
  • Human Capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

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abstract = "This paper provides evidence on whether mandating wider subject variety on high school entrance exams affects long-term educational achievement using Japanese historical experiences. In Japan, where high school education is non-compulsory, prefectural boards of education have retained the freedom to set admission criteria for public high schools within their prefecture, including the number of subjects tested on entrance exams. Using prefectural-level panel data, we estimate the effect of the number and choice of subjects tested at the time of high school entrance on the probability of college attendance three years later. We find that the variety of subjects tested has a positive effect on the later college enrollment. Our findings are broadly consistent with the incentive theory of testing (Lazear, 2006) and the empirical results from other countries.",
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AB - This paper provides evidence on whether mandating wider subject variety on high school entrance exams affects long-term educational achievement using Japanese historical experiences. In Japan, where high school education is non-compulsory, prefectural boards of education have retained the freedom to set admission criteria for public high schools within their prefecture, including the number of subjects tested on entrance exams. Using prefectural-level panel data, we estimate the effect of the number and choice of subjects tested at the time of high school entrance on the probability of college attendance three years later. We find that the variety of subjects tested has a positive effect on the later college enrollment. Our findings are broadly consistent with the incentive theory of testing (Lazear, 2006) and the empirical results from other countries.

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