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Peer Heterogeneity, Parental Background and Tracking: Evidence from PISA 2006

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The empirical literature using large international students’ assessments tends to neglect the role of school composition variables in order not to incur in a misidentification of peer effects. However, this leads to an error of higher logical type since the learning environment crucially depends on peers’ family background and on peer heterogeneity. In this paper, using PISA 2006, we show how peer heterogeneity is a key determinant of student attainment and of opportunity equalization. Interestingly, the effect of school compositional variables differs depending on the country tracking policy: peer heterogeneity reduces efficiency in comprehensive systems whereas it has a non-linear impact in early-tracking ones. In turn, linear peer effects are larger in early-tracking systems. Besides, higher heterogeneity tends to equalize student differences related to family background. Results do not change in school- and student-level regressions suggesting that the impact of heterogeneity is correctly identified. Results are also robust when we add school-level dummies and several controls correlated with the school choice to alleviate the selectivity bias of linear peer effects.

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Paper provided by Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE) in its series Documents de Travail de l'OFCE with number 2010-23.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fce:doctra:1023

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Keywords: peer heterogeneity; peer effects; schooling tracking; educational production function; equality of opportunities.;

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  1. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ammermüller, Andreas & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2006. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from PIRLS," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-27, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Epple, Dennis & Newlon, Elizabeth & Romano, Richard, 2002. "Ability tracking, school competition, and the distribution of educational benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 1-48, January.
  4. Entorf, Horst & Lauk, Martina, 2007. "Peer effects, social multipliers and migrants at school: An international comparison," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 57, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  5. John H. Bishop & Ludger Wößmann, 2001. "Institutional Effects in a Simple Model of Educational Production," Kiel Working Papers 1085, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  6. Nicole Schneeweis & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2007. "Peer effects in Austrian schools," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 387-409, May.
  7. McEwan, Patrick J., 2003. "Peer effects on student achievement: evidence from Chile," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 131-141, April.
  8. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
  9. de Bartolome, Charles A M, 1990. "Equilibrium and Inefficiency in a Community Model with Peer Group Effects," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 110-33, February.
  10. Thomas Fuchs & Ludger Woessmann, 2004. "What Accounts for International Differences in Student Performance? A Re-examination using PISA Data," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 274, Econometric Society.
  11. Fertig, Michael, 2003. "Educational Production, Endogenous Peer Group Formation and Class Composition – Evidence from the PISA 2000 Study," IZA Discussion Papers 714, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. V. Vandenberghe, 2002. "Evaluating the magnitude and the stakes of peer effects analysing science and math achievement across OECD," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(10), pages 1283-1290.
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Cited by:
  1. Marina Murat, 2011. "Do immigrant students succeed? Evidence from Italy and France based on PISA 2006," Department of Economics 0670, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  2. Marina Murat & Davide Ferrari & Patrizio Frederic, 2012. "Immigrant students and educational systems. Cross-country evidence from PISA 2006," Department of Economics 0683, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  3. Murat Marina, 2012. "Do Immigrant Students Succeed? Evidence from Italy and France," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 12(3), pages 1-22, September.
  4. Marchionni, Mariana & Pinto, Florencia & Vazquez, Emmanuel, 2013. "Determinantes de la desigualdad en el desempeño educativo en la Argentina
    [Determinants of the inequality in PISA test scores in Argentina]
    ," MPRA Paper 56421, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Francesco Vona, 2011. "Does the Expansion of Higher Education Reduce Educational Inequality? Evidence from 12 European Countries," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2011-12, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  6. Marchionni, Mariana & Vazquez, Emmanuel & Pinto, Florencia, 2012. "Desigualdad educativa en la Argentina. Análisis en base a los datos PISA 2009
    [Education Inequality in Argentina. An analysis based on PISA 2009 data]
    ," MPRA Paper 56420, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Laura Cavalli & Alessandro Bucciol & Paolo Pertile & Veronica Polin & Nicola Sartor & Alessandro Sommacal, 2012. "Modelling life-course decisions for the analysis of interpersonal and intrapersonal redistribution," Working Papers 25/2012, University of Verona, Department of Economics.

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