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The Effects of Peer Group Heterogeneity on the Production of Human Capital at West Point

  • David S. Lyle
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    Understanding how heterogeneity in peer group composition affects academic attainment has important implications for how schools organize students in group settings. The random assignment of cadets to companies at West Point affords an opportunity to investigate this issue empirically. Estimates of the impact of peer group heterogeneity in math SAT scores on freshmen-year academic performance reveals that more heterogeneous peer groups have positive effects on individual grades. High-ability peers account for most of the positive effect, while low-ability peers have no measureable effect. (JEL I23, J24, M54)

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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.1.4.69
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    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

    Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 4 (October)
    Pages: 69-84

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:4:p:69-84
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.4.69
    Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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    1. Benabou, R., 1992. "Heterogeneity, Stratification, and Growth," Working papers 93-4, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Stinebrickner, Ralph & Stinebrickner, Todd R., 2006. "What can be learned about peer effects using college roommates? Evidence from new survey data and students from disadvantaged backgrounds," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1435-1454, September.
    6. David S. Lyle, 2007. "Estimating and Interpreting Peer and Role Model Effects from Randomly Assigned Social Groups at West Point," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 289-299, May.
    7. 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.
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