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Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement

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  • Scott E. Carrell
  • Richard L. Fullerton
  • James E. West

Abstract

To estimate peer effects in college achievement we exploit a unique dataset in which individuals have been exogenously assigned to peer groups of about 30 students with whom they are required to spend the majority of their time interacting. This feature enables us to estimate peer effects that are more comparable to changing the entire cohort of peers. Using this broad peer group, we find academic peer effects of much larger magnitude than found in previous studies that have measured peer effects among roommates alone. We find the peer effects persist at a diminishing rate into the sophomore, junior, and senior years, indicating social network peer effects may have long lasting effects on academic achievement. Our findings also suggest that peer effects may be working through study partnerships versus operating through establishment of a social norm of effort.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14032.

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Date of creation: May 2008
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Publication status: published as Scott E. Carrell & Richard L. Fullerton & James E. West, 2009. "Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 439-464, 07.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14032

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  1. Eide, Eric & Brewer, Dominic J. & Ehrenberg, Ronald G., 1998. "Does it pay to attend an elite private college? Evidence on the effects of undergraduate college quality on graduate school attendance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 371-376, October.
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  5. Foster, Gigi, 2006. "It's not your peers, and it's not your friends: Some progress toward understanding the educational peer effect mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1455-1475, September.
  6. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  7. Scott E. Carrell & James E. West, 2008. "Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors," NBER Working Papers 14081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Anthony Burton & Katherine Carson & Susan Chilton & W. Hutchinson, 2007. "Resolving questions about bias in real and hypothetical referenda," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 38(4), pages 513-525, December.
  9. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Estimating The Payoff To Attending A More Selective College: An Application Of Selection On Observables And Unobservables," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1491-1527, November.
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  11. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Jacob M. Markman & Steven G. Rivkin, 2001. "Does Peer Ability Affect Student Achievement?," NBER Working Papers 8502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Scott E. Carrell & Frederick V. Malmstrom & James E. West, 2008. "Peer Effects in Academic Cheating," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
  13. Michael Kremer & Dan M. Levy, 2003. "Peer Effects and Alcohol Use Among College Students," NBER Working Papers 9876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Behrman, Jere R & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Taubman, Paul, 1996. "College Choice and Wages: Estimates Using Data on Female Twins," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 672-85, November.
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