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Be as Careful of the Books You Read as of the Company You Keep: Evidence on Peer Effects in Educational Choices

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Author Info

  • De Giorgi, Giacomo

    ()
    (Stanford University)

  • Pellizzari, Michele

    ()
    (University of Geneva)

  • Redaelli, Silvia

    ()
    (Bocconi University)

Abstract

In this paper we investigate whether peers’ behavior influences the choice of college major. Using a unique dataset of students at Bocconi University and exploiting the organization of teaching at this institution, we are able to identify the endogenous effect of peers on such decision through a novel identification strategy which solves the common econometric problems of studies of social interactions. Results show that, indeed, one is more likely to choose a major when many of her peers make the same choice. We estimate that, when it diverts students from majors in which they seem to have a relative ability advantage, this effect leads to lower average grades and graduation mark, a penalty that could cost up to 1,117 USD a year in the labor market.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2833.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2833

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Related research

Keywords: social interaction; education; peer effects; reflection;

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References

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  1. Bayer, Patrick & Ross, Stephen L., 2005. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 8, Yale University, Department of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lucia Corno, 2012. "Peer Effects on Criminal Behavior. Evidence from the homeless," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1204, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  2. Tiwari, Ashutosh & Richards, Timothy J., 2013. "Anonymous Social Networks versus Peer Networks in Restaurant Choice," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150467, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  3. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2010. "Peer group effects on the academic performance of Italian students," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(17), pages 2203-2215.
  4. Yann Bramoullé & Bernard Fortin, 2009. "The Econometrics of Social Networks," Cahiers de recherche 0913, CIRPEE.
  5. Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Peer Effects and Social Networks in Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 7060, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Carmen Aina, 2010. "The Determinants of Educational Attainment, University Drop-out and Time-to-Degree. A focus on Italy," Working Papers 132, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
  7. Giacomo De Giorgi & Michele Pellizzari & William Gui Woolston, 2010. "Class Size and Class Heterogeneity," NBER Working Papers 16405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Billari, Francesco C. & Pellizzari, Michele, 2008. "The Younger, the Better? Relative Age Effects at University," IZA Discussion Papers 3795, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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