Theses Doctoral

To be first in a village or second in Rome - the impact of educational choices in Singapore

Ng, Siow Chin

Singapore educational context contains some of the most provocative and ideological features in a mature education system – school choice, selectivity and tracking. The facts that schools follow the same curriculum, students take standardized examination and teachers have similar pre-service training makes Singapore a suitable case to study peer effects. The policy to give an option to a small group of students, who missed the cutoff for an academically more demanding, to decide their educational track allows me to study the impact of peer quality. Specifically, students at the margin of the cutoffs have a choice to study with better peers at an accelerated learning pace at the expense of a low rank order in class i.e. ‘Second in Rome’ effect or study with weaker peers at a slower learning pace and longer duration but enjoy a high rank order in class i.e. ‘First in Village’ effect. In both settings, students are exposed to the same curriculum albeit at a difference pace with the ‘Second in Rome’ completing the curriculum in 4 years while the ‘First in Village’ group complete theirs in 5 years. I applied the regression discontinuity strategy to compare the performance of students at the margin of the thresholds.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Economics and Education
Thesis Advisors
Scott-Clayton, Judith E.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 24, 2016