HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.


Do signals of high aptitude shape the course of collegiate study? We apply a regression discontinuity design to understand how college major choice is impacted by receiving a higher Advanced Placement (AP) integer score, despite similar exam performance, compared to students who received a lower integer score. Attaining higher scores increases the probability that a student majors in that exam subject by approximately 5 percent (0.64 percentage points), with some individual exams demonstrating increases as high as 30 percent. A substantial portion of the overall effect is driven by behavioral responses to the positive signal of receiving a higher score.


Avery, Christopher, Oded Gurantz, Michael Hurwitz, and Jonathan Smith,. "Shifting College Majors in Response to Advanced Placement Exam Scores." Journal of Human Resources 53.4 (October 2018): 918-956.