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

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References

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  1. Patrick Bayer & Stephen L. Ross & Giorgio Topa, 2008. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1150-1196, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Carmen Aina, 2010. "The Determinants of Educational Attainment, University Drop-out and Time-to-Degree. A focus on Italy," Working Papers, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont 132, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
  2. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2009. "Peer Group Effects on the Academic Performance of Italian Students," MPRA Paper 18428, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Lucia Corno, 2012. "Peer Effects on Criminal Behavior. Evidence from the homeless," Norface Discussion Paper Series, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London 2012015, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  4. De Giorgi, Giacomo & Pellizzari, Michele & Woolston, William Gui, 2009. "Class Size and Class Heterogeneity," IZA Discussion Papers 4443, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Peer Effects and Social Networks in Education," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 7060, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. 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., Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 150467, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  7. 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).
  8. Yann Bramoullé & Bernard Fortin, 2009. "The Econometrics of Social Networks," Cahiers de recherche, CIRPEE 0913, CIRPEE.

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