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Everybody Needs Good Neighbours? Evidence from Students’ Outcomes in England

  • Stephen Gibbons
  • Olmo Silva
  • Felix Weinhardt

We estimate the effect of neighbours' characteristics and prior achievements on teenage students' educational and behavioural outcomes using census data on several cohorts of secondary school students in England. Our research design is based on changes in neighbourhood composition caused explicitly by residential migration amongst students in our dataset. The longitudinal nature and detail of the data allows us to control for student unobserved characteristics, neighbourhood fixed effects and time trends, school-by-cohort fixed effects, as well as students' observable attributes and prior attainments. The institutional setting also allows us to distinguish between neighbours who attend the same or different schools, and thus examine interactions between school and neighbourhood peers. Overall, our results provide evidence that peers in the neighbourhood have no effect on test scores, but have a small effect on behavioural outcomes, such as attitudes towards schooling and anti-social behaviour.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 123 (2013)
Issue (Month): (09)
Pages: 831-874

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:123:y:2013:i::p:831-874
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  1. Steve Gibbons & Stephen Machin & Olmo Silva, 2009. "Valuing School Quality Using Boundary Discontinuities," SERC Discussion Papers 0018, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  2. Steve Gibbons & Shqiponja Telhaj, 2008. "Peers and Achievement in Englands Secondary Schools," SERC Discussion Papers 0001, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  3. Lisa Sanbonmatsu & Jeffrey R. Kling & Greg J. Duncan & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2006. "Neighborhoods and Academic Achievement: Results from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment," NBER Working Papers 11909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dominique Goux & Eric Maurin, 2006. "Close Neighbours Matter: Neighbourhood Effects on Early Performance at School," CEE Discussion Papers 0068, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  5. Åslund, Olof & Edin, Per-Anders & Fredriksson, Peter & Grönqvist, Hans, 2010. "Peers, neighborhoods and immigrant student achievement - evidence from a placement policy," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2010:18, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  6. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. M. Daniele Paserman & Eric Gould & Victor Lavy, 2010. "Sixty Years after the Magic Carpet Ride: The Long-Run Effect of the Early Childhood Environment on Social and Economic Outcomes," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2010-045, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  8. Victor Lavy & Analía Schlosser, 2007. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," NBER Working Papers 13292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Rebecca Allen & Simon Burgess & Tomas Key, 2010. "Choosing secondary school by moving house: school quality and the formation of neighbourhoods," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 10/238, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  10. 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.
  11. Gould, Eric D & Lavy, Victor & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2003. "Immigrating to Opportunity: Estimating the Effect of School Quality Using a Natural Experiment on Ethiopians in Israel," CEPR Discussion Papers 4052, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Felix Weinhardt, 2010. "Moving into the Projects: Social Housing Neighbourhoods and School Performance in England," SERC Discussion Papers 0044, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  13. Daniel Aaronson, 1996. "Using sibling data to estimate the impact of neighborhoods on children' s educational outcomes," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-96-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  14. John F. Kain & John M. Quigley, 1975. "Housing Markets and Racial Discrimination: A Microeconomic Analysis," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kain75-1, June.
  15. David J. Harding & Lisa Gennetian & Christopher Winship & Lisa Sanbonmatsu & Jeffrey R. Kling, 2010. "Unpacking Neighborhood Influences on Education Outcomes: Setting the Stage for Future Research," NBER Working Papers 16055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Anne Bolster & Simon Burgess & Ron Johnston & Kelvyn Jones & Carol Propper & Rebecca Sarker, 2004. "Neighbourhoods, Households and Income Dynamics: A Semi-Parametric Investigation of Neighbourhood Effects," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 04/106, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  17. Edin, P.-A. & Fredriksson, P. & Aslund, O., 2000. "Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Papers 2000:21, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  18. Cheshire, Paul & Sheppard, Stephen, 1995. "On the Price of Land and the Value of Amenities," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(246), pages 247-67, May.
  19. Steve Gibbons & Shqiponja Telhaj, 2007. "Mobility and School Disruption," CEE Discussion Papers 0083, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  20. Victor Lavy & M. Daniele Paserman & Analia Schlosser, 2008. "Inside the Black of Box of Ability Peer Effects: Evidence from Variation in the Proportion of Low Achievers in the Classroom," NBER Working Papers 14415, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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