Peer Effects in Higher Education
AbstractThis paper was prepared as a chapter for College Decisions: How Students Actually Make Them and How They Could, edited by Caroline Hoxby for publication by the University of Chicago Press for the NBER. In this chapter, we describe the potential significance of student peer effects for the economic structure and behavior of higher education. Their existence would motivate much of the restricted supply, student queuing, and selectivity - and institutional competition via merit aid and honors colleges - that we see in American higher education; their (appropriate) non-linearity could justify the resulting stratification of higher education as an efficient way to produce human capital. In addition, we use data from the College and Beyond entering class of 1989, combined with phonebook data identifying roommates, to implement a quasi-experimental empirical strategy aimed at measuring peer effects in academic outcomes. In particular, we use data on individual students' grades, SAT scores, and the SAT scores of their roommates at three schools to estimate the effect of roommates' academic characteristics on an individual's grades. The results suggest that, for two of the three schools used, students in the middle of the SAT distribution do somewhat worse in terms of grades if they share a room with a student who is in the bottom 15 percent of the SAT distribution. Students in the top of the SAT distribution appear often not to be affected by the SAT scores of their roommates. These results are similar to those reported in earlier research using data from Williams (Zimmerman) and Dartmouth (Sacerdote).
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education with number DP-64.
Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in College choices: The economics of where to go, when to go, and how to pay for it, 395-421. NBER Conference Report series, 2004.
Other versions of this item:
- I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
- Gary S. Becker, 1991.
"A Note on Restaurant Pricing and Other Examples of Social Influences on Price,"
University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State
67, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Becker, Gary S, 1991. "A Note on Restaurant Pricing and Other Examples of Social Influences on Price," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1109-16, October.
- David J. Zimmerman, 2003.
"Peer Effects in Academic Outcomes: Evidence from a Natural Experiment,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 9-23, February.
- Zimmerman, David J., 1999. "Peer Effects in Academic Outcomes: Evidence From a Natural Experiment," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-52, Department of Economics, Williams College.
- Bruce Sacerdote, 2000.
"Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates,"
NBER Working Papers
7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Peer Effects With Random Assignment: Results For Dartmouth Roommates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 681-704, May.
- Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 1999.
"Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables,"
NBER Working Papers
7322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Charles T. Clotfelter, 1996. "Buying the Best: Cost Escalation in Elite Higher Education," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clot96-1, October.
- Donald Robertson & James Symons, 1996.
"Do peer Groups Matter? Peer Groups versus Schooling Effects on Academic Attainment,"
CEP Discussion Papers
dp0311, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Donald Robertson & James Symons, 2003. "Do Peer Groups Matter? Peer Group versus Schooling Effects on Academic Attainment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(277), pages 31-53, February.
- Summers, Anita A & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1977. "Do Schools Make a Difference?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 639-52, September.
- Arrow, Kenneth J., 1973. "Higher education as a filter," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 193-216, July.
- Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
- Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard & Sieg, Holger, 2000.
"Peer Effects, Financial Aid, and Selection of Students into Colleges and Universities: An Empirical Analysis,"
00-02, Duke University, Department of Economics.
- Holger Sieg & Dennis Epple & Richard Romano, 2003. "Peer effects, financial aid and selection of students into colleges and universities: an empirical analysis," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 501-525.
- Edward P. Lazear, 1999.
NBER Working Papers
7349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Basu, Kaushik, 1989. "A Theory of Association: Social Status, Prices and Markets," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 653-71, October.
- Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
- Estelle James, 1978. "Product Mix and Cost Disaggregation: A Reinterpretation of the Economics of Higher Education," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 13(2), pages 157-186.
- Gordon C. Winston & Kris N. Kirby & Mariana Santiesteban, 2002. "Impatience and grades: Delay-discount rates correlate negatively with college GPA," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-63, Department of Economics, Williams College.
- Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2001. "Peer Effects Among Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20013, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Stephen Sheppard).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.