In this article, we investigate how heterogeneity in grading standards across university degree courses is related to supply and demand factors. Using a sample of almost 26,000 students enrolled at an Italian University, we document how grades vary significantly across degrees. After controlling for student characteristics, class-size, classmate quality and degree fixed effects, it emerges that students obtain better grades and are less likely to drop-out when their degree course experiences an excess of supply. We adopt an instrumental variable strategy to account for endogeneity problems and instrument the excess of supply using the total number of universities offering each degree course. Our two-stage least squares (TSLS) estimates confirm that the teaching staff on degree courses facing low demand tend to set lower academic standards with the result that their students obtain better grades and have a lower probability of dropping out than they might otherwise. Similar results are obtained using a control function approach.
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|Titolo:||Easy grading practices and supply-demand factors. Evidence from Italy,|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2011|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|