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Peer Effects in Disadvantaged Primary Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment

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Author Info

  • Antecol, Heather

    ()
    (Claremont McKenna College)

  • Eren, Ozkan

    ()
    (Louisiana State University)

  • Ozbeklik, Serkan

    ()
    (Claremont McKenna College)

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    Abstract

    We examine the effect of peer achievement on students' own achievement and teacher performance in primary schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods using data from a well-executed randomized experiment in seven states. Contrary to the existing literature, we find that the average classroom peer achievement adversely influences own student achievement in math and reading in linear-in-means models. Extending our analysis to take into account the potential non-linearity in the peer effects leads to non-negligible differences along the achievement distribution. We test several models of peer effects to further understand their underlying mechanisms. While we find no evidence to support the monotonicity model and little evidence in favor of the ability grouping model, we find stronger evidence to support the frame of reference and the invidious comparison models. Moreover, we also find that higher achieving classes improve teaching performance in math. Finally, using a simple policy experiment we find suggestive evidence that tracking students by ability potentially benefits students who end up in a low achievement class while hurting students in a high achievement class.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7694.

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    Length: 55 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7694

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    Related research

    Keywords: peer effects; student achievement; random assignment;

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    References

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    1. Victor Lavy & Olmo Silva & Felix Weinhardt, 2012. "The Good, the Bad, and the Average: Evidence on Ability Peer Effects in Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 367 - 414.
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    24. repec:att:wimass:9127 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Jonathan Guryan & Kory Kroft & Matt Notowidigdo, 2007. "Peer Effects in the Workplace: Evidence from Random Groupings in Professional Golf Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 13422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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