Working paper

Self-Perceptions about Academic Achievement: Evidence from Mexico City

Matteo Bobba, and Veronica Frisancho


A growing body of evidence suggests that people exhibit large biases when processing information about themselves, but less is known about the underlying inference process. This paper studies belief updating patterns regarding academic ability in a large sample of students transitioning from middle to high school in Mexico City. The paper takes advantage of rich and longitudinal data on subjective beliefs together with randomized feedback about individual performance on an achievement test. On average, the performance feedback reduces the relative role of priors on posteriors and shifts substantial probability mass toward the signal. Further evidence reveals that males and high-socioeconomic status students, especially those attending relatively better schools, tend to process new information on their own ability more effectively.


Information; Subjective expectations; Academic ability; Bayesian updating; Over confidence; Secondary education.;

JEL codes

  • C93: Field Experiments
  • D80: General
  • D83: Search • Learning • Information and Knowledge • Communication • Belief
  • D84: Expectations • Speculations
  • I24: Education and Inequality


Matteo Bobba, and Veronica Frisancho, Self-Perceptions about Academic Achievement: Evidence from Mexico City, TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1070, January 2020.

See also

Published in

TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1070, January 2020