School selectivity and mental health: Evidence from regression discontinuity design

Working Papers 333 Tiina Kuuppelomäki

The school environment forms a large part of adolescents’ lives and can thus have a large impact on their mental health. However, fairly little is known on the specific impact of school characteristics, such as selectivity. In this paper, comprehensive Finnish register data is used to investigate how studying at a more selective, preferred upper se-
condary school affects students’ short- and long-term mental health. A regression discontinuity design is employed for the analysis, finding that, while access to more selective school has little overall effect on individual’s short- or long-term mental health, it does have positive effects during the time of matriculation examinations. Further analysis also reveals heterogeneity based on the selectivity difference between the preferred school and next-best alternative.


Keywords: education, secondary, mental health, selectivity, peers