Christopher Avery Photo

Christopher Avery

Roy E. Larsen Professor of Public Policy
Office Address
79 John F. Kennedy St. Littauer Bldg 212
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.


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.