Specialists or All-Rounders: How Best to Select University Students?

TítuloSpecialists or All-Rounders: How Best to Select University Students?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsSilva, PLuís
JournalJournal of Human Capital

This paper studies whether universities should select their students only using specialised subject-specific tests or based on a broader set of skills and knowledge. Theoretically, I show that even if broader skills are not improving graduates' outcomes in the labour market, the university optimally chooses to use them as a criterion for selection alongside the mastery of more subject-specific tools. Empirically, I exploit the variation between subject-specific and non-specific entrance exam sets on Portuguese students' large administrative dataset. My central finding is that universities with less specialised admission policies admit a pool of students who obtain a higher final GPA.


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