Residential Peer Effects in Higher Education: Does the Field of Study Matter?
AbstractEconomists have a poor understanding of the mechanisms underlying reduced-form college peer effects. In this paper we explore a candidate mechanism, the provision of school effort. We show that, when earnings reflect individual educational performance as well as the field of study selected at college, and individual effort is a function of expected earnings, the size of the peer effect varies by field. Using data from a middle-sized public university located in Southern Italy and exploiting the random assignment of first year students to college accommodation, we find evidence that peer effects are positive and statistically significant for students enrolled in the fields of Engineering, Maths and Natural Sciences – which are expected to generate higher earnings after college – and not different from zero for students enrolled in the Humanities, Social and Life Sciences, which give access to lower payoffs. An implication of our model is that shocks affecting college wage premia may alter the size of peer effects.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3277.
Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Inquiry, 2010, 48(3), 621-634
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-02-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-EDU-2008-02-02 (Education)
- NEP-HRM-2008-02-02 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-LAB-2008-02-02 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-SOG-2008-02-02 (Sociology of Economics)
- NEP-URE-2008-02-02 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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