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Beliefs about whether effort pays off govern some of the most fundamental choices individual make. This paper uses China's Cultural Revolution to understand how these beliefs can be affected, how they impact behavior, and how they are transmitted across generations. During the Cultural Revolution, China's college admission system based on entrance exams was suspended for a decade until 1976, effectively depriving an entire generation of young people of the opportunity to access higher educationdoi:10.3386/w23441 fatcat:63453wc4rbd2bizjx6t7vrsz3y