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Peer effects on high school aspirations: Evidence from a sample of close and not-so-close friends


  • Mora, Toni
  • Oreopoulos, Philip


In this paper we investigate how schoolmates influence high school dropout intentions in Catalonia, Spain. Our analysis uses self-reported friends to identify possible peers by assuming that peer influence flows in one direction in cases where one student identifies another as a friend, but the other does not reciprocate. We first estimate the effects of education aspirations of non-reciprocating friends on students' own education aspirations, with and without conditioning on a large set of personality and cognitive characteristics. We then investigate the extent to which the estimated effects are associated with friends' height, weight, BMI, gender and cognitive ability. The estimated impact of non-reciprocating peers' dropout intentions is small and generally not statistically significant: a 10 percentage point increase in the fraction of non-reciprocating peers that intend to drop out increases students' chances of dropping out by about .2 percentage points.

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  • Mora, Toni & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2011. "Peer effects on high school aspirations: Evidence from a sample of close and not-so-close friends," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 575-581, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:30:y:2011:i:4:p:575-581

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:taf:vjerxx:v:109:y:2016:i:1:p:37-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:29-42 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Son Thierry Ly & Arnaud Riegert, 2014. "Persistent Classmates: How Familiarity with Peers Protects from Disruptive School Transitions," PSE Working Papers halshs-00842265, HAL.
    4. Proud, S., 2014. "Girl Power? An Analysis Of Peer Effects Using Exogenous Changes In The Gender Make-Up Of The Peer Group," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 14(3), pages 5-18.
    5. Chiapa, Carlos & Garrido, José Luis & Prina, Silvia, 2012. "The effect of social programs and exposure to professionals on the educational aspirations of the poor," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 778-798.
    6. Simon Burgess & Marcela Umaña-Aponte, 2011. "Raising your sights: the impact of friendship networks on educational aspirations," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 11/271, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    7. Rossella Iraci Capuccinello, 2014. "Determinants and timing of dropping out decisions: evidence from the UK FE sector," Working Papers 15742191, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    8. Jason Fletcher & Norma Padrón, 2016. "The effects of teenage childbearing on adult soft skills development," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(3), pages 883-910, July.

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