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Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement

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  • Scott E. Carrell
  • Richard L. Fullerton
  • James E. West

Abstract

We estimate peer effects in college achievement using a data set in which individuals are exogenously assigned to peer groups of about 30 students with whom they are required to spend the majority of their time interacting. This feature enables us to estimate peer effects that are more comparable to changing the entire cohort of peers. Using this broad peer group, we measure academic peer effects of much larger magnitude than found in previous studies. The effects persist at a diminished rate into follow-on years, and we find evidence of nonlinearities in the magnitude of the effects across student academic ability. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 27 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (07)
Pages: 439-464

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:27:y:2009:i:3:p:439-464

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE/

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  1. Scott E. Carrell & James E. West, 2008. "Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors," NBER Working Papers 14081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Behrman, Jere R & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Taubman, Paul, 1996. "College Choice and Wages: Estimates Using Data on Female Twins," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 672-85, November.
  3. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan Krueger, 1998. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," Working Papers 788, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Jacob M. Markman & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2003. "Does peer ability affect student achievement?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 527-544.
  5. Eide, Eric & Brewer, Dominic J. & Ehrenberg, Ronald G., 1998. "Does it pay to attend an elite private college? Evidence on the effects of undergraduate college quality on graduate school attendance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 371-376, October.
  6. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1996. "Does It Pay To Attend An Elite Private College? Cross Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Quality on Earnings," NBER Working Papers 5613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Zimmerman, David J., 1999. "Peer Effects in Academic Outcomes: Evidence From a Natural Experiment," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-52, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  8. Scott E. Carrell & Frederick V. Malmstrom & James E. West, 2008. "Peer Effects in Academic Cheating," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
  9. Foster, Gigi, 2006. "It's not your peers, and it's not your friends: Some progress toward understanding the educational peer effect mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1455-1475, September.
  10. Anthony Burton & Katherine Carson & Susan Chilton & W. Hutchinson, 2007. "Resolving questions about bias in real and hypothetical referenda," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 38(4), pages 513-525, December.
  11. Stinebrickner, Ralph & Stinebrickner, Todd R., 2006. "What can be learned about peer effects using college roommates? Evidence from new survey data and students from disadvantaged backgrounds," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1435-1454, September.
  12. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1995. "College Selectivity and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 289-308, April.
  13. Michael Kremer & Dan M. Levy, 2003. "Peer Effects and Alcohol Use Among College Students," NBER Working Papers 9876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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