Peer effects in medical school
Using data on the universe of students who graduated from U.S. medical schools between 1996 and 1998, we examine whether the abilities and specialty preferences of a medical school class affect a student's academic achievement in medical school and his choice of specialty. We mitigate the selection problem by including school-specific fixed effects, and show that this method yields an upper bound on peer effects for our data. We estimate positive peer effects that disappear when school-specific fixed effects are added to control for the endogeneity of a peer group. We find no evidence that peer effects are stronger for blacks, that peer groups are formed along racial lines, or that students with relatively low ability benefit more from their peers than students with relatively high ability. However, we do find some evidence that peer groups form along gender lines.
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