Using the central application procedure for places in the medical fields in Germany, we study how the (non-)assigment of a study place through this procedure influences perceived procedural efficiency. Medical studies are some of the most prestigious study fields in Germany. Each year, only about 1 out of 6 applicants receives a study place. This overdemand has lead to ongoing public debates about and reforms of the application procedure. At the core of these debates and reforms is the question of which applicant characteristics should play the biggest role in the application decision. Proponents of the application procedure – as currently implemented – advocate that an applicant’s high school GPA receives a high weight in the procedure, whereas opponents of the current procedure emphasize that other factors, such as the applicant’s emphathy, are more important predictors of success as a physician, and should therefore receive more weight in the admission decision. We attempt to understand how the apparent differences in beliefs between the proponents and opponents of the current system come about. In particular, we analyze whether they reflect fundamental differences in beliefs between admitted and non-admitted applicants and whether beliefs are motivated, that is, whether the admission itself influences these beliefs.
We consider four primary outcomes. The first two outcomes relate to the relationship between a selection criterion (GPA or empathy) and the job performance of medical doctors. We elicit participants’ beliefs regarding these relationships as estimated in two academic studies. The other two outcomes elicit participants’ second-order beliefs and refer to the participants’ assessment of the perception of physicians in society. We elicit participants’ beliefs regarding the perceived competencies and trustworthiness of physicians.
For wave 2, we intend to slightly alter these outcomes such that (i) the effects of a potential preference for making consistent responses in wave 2 are reduced and (ii) the wave-1 measures of beliefs still constitutes a meaningful control for these beliefs. In particular, we employ different measures of job performance and elicit the beliefs about the perception of competencies and trustworthiness in the society based on a different survey year.
We ask the following questions: (i) Does failure (relative to success) in the application procedure weaken the perceived relationship between physicians’ high school GPA and their job performance (measured by their attainment of further professional medical qualifications)? (ii) Does failure (relative to success) in the application procedure strengthen the perceived relationship between physicians’ empathy and their job performance (measured by their success in treating their diabetes patients, given beliefs about the importance of empathy for a successful application)?(iii) Does failure (relative to success) in the application procedure decrease beliefs about the competencies of physicians? (iv) Does failure (relative to success) in the application procedure decrease beliefs about the trustworthiness of physicians?