• UCL Twitter account
  • UCL YouTube channel
  • UCL Facebook page
  • UCL SoundCloud channel
  • UCL iTunes store

Information for Staff


Select dates to view past and future events

13:00 - 14:00 28 February 2013

Top of Class: the Importance of Ordinal Rank Position


Ricardo Lecture Theatre | Drayton House (link Map)
30 Gordon Street | London | WC1H 0AN | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Student
Ticketing: Open

Speaker information

Richard Murphy, UCL

We find an individual’s ordinal rank within their reference group has effects on later objective outcomes. To evaluate the impact of local rank, we use a large administrative dataset spanning five cohorts of the student population in England. Academic rank within primary school has sizeable, robust and significant effects on later achievement, conditional on national test scores. We provide evidence for a mechanism using matched survey data, which show that primary rank affects students’ self-concept. The paper discusses other potential channels but concludes that malleable non-cognitive skills such as confidence and belief in own ability seem to have large and robust effects on objective outcomes that matter in the labour market.


Department of Economics - Reception
020 7679 5888 |