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Classroom peer effects and academic achievement: Evidence from a Chinese middle school

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  • Carman, Katherine Grace
  • Zhang, Lei

Abstract

This paper estimates peer effects on student achievement using a panel data set from a middle school in China. Unique features of the organization of Chinese middle schools (Grades 7 to 9) and panel data allow us to overcome difficulties that have hindered the separation of peer effects from omitted individual factors due to self-selection and from common teacher effects and to identify peer effects at the classroom level. We estimate peer effects for Math, English, and Chinese test scores separately. In a linear-in-means model controlling for both individual and teacher-by-test fixed effects, peers are found to have a positive and significant effect on math test scores, a positive but insignificant effect on Chinese test scores, but no effect on English test scores. Importantly, in Math and Chinese students at the middle of the ability distribution tend to benefit from better peers, whereas students at the ends of the ability distribution do not, suggesting that policy makers who want to exploit positive peer effects face difficult tradeoffs in classroom and school assignment.

Suggested Citation

  • Carman, Katherine Grace & Zhang, Lei, 2012. "Classroom peer effects and academic achievement: Evidence from a Chinese middle school," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 223-237.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:23:y:2012:i:2:p:223-237
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2011.10.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Heather Antecol & Ozkan Eren & Serkan Ozbeklik, 2016. "Peer Effects in Disadvantaged Primary Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(1), pages 95-132.
    2. Mary A. Burke & Tim R. Sass, 2013. "Classroom Peer Effects and Student Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 51-82.
    3. Antecol, Heather & Eren, Ozkan & Ozbeklik, Serkan, 2013. "Peer Effects in Disadvantaged Primary Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7694, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:2:p:582-597 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Wang, Haining & Cheng, Zhiming & Smyth, Russell, 2018. "Do migrant students affect local students’ academic achievements in urban China?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 64-77.
    6. Nie, Peng & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & He, Xiaobo, 2015. "Peer effects on childhood and adolescent obesity in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 47-69.
    7. Antonio di Paolo & Alvaro Choi, 2014. "School Composition Effects in Spain: Accounting for Intercept and Slope Effects," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 210(3), pages 57-83, September.
    8. Park, Albert & Shi, Xinzheng & Hsieh, Chang-tai & An, Xuehui, 2015. "Magnet high schools and academic performance in China: A regression discontinuity design," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 825-843.
    9. repec:taf:vjerxx:v:109:y:2016:i:1:p:37-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Lionel Perini, 2012. "Peer effects and school design: An analysis of efficiency and equity," IRENE Working Papers 12-01, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
    11. Cortes, Kalena E. & Moussa, Wael S. & Weinstein, Jeffrey M., 2013. "Educating bright students in urban schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 286-297.
    12. Feng, Han & Li, Jiayao, 2016. "Head teachers, peer effects, and student achievement," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 268-283.
    13. Alexis Le Chapelain, 2014. "Market for Education and Student Achievement," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/1jgbspo1909, Sciences Po.
    14. Li, Qiang & Zang, Wenbin & An, Lian, 2013. "Peer effects and school dropout in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 238-248.
    15. repec:bla:econom:v:84:y:2017:i:336:p:712-747 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Peer effects; Classroom; Fixed effects; Chinese schools;

    JEL classification:

    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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