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What can be learned about peer effects using college roommates? Evidence from new survey data and students from disadvantaged backgrounds


  • Stinebrickner, Ralph
  • Stinebrickner, Todd R.


Previous papers which examine the importance of peer effects using exogenous variation in college roommates have found only very limited evidence that a student’s first year grade performance is influenced by the observable academic characteristics of his/her roommate. One possible explanation for this finding is that peer effects do not play a particularly important role in the higher education setting. However, another very plausible explanation for this finding is that peer effects are important in higher education but that these previous empirical efforts have simply not been “looking in the right place” to find the evidence of peer effects in this setting. Thus, while these papers have received considerable attention due to the general difficulty of finding credible exogenous variation in peer quality, they have difficulty answering the most fundamental question related to peer effects in this higher education - whether peer effects play an important role or not. This paper provides depth to the peer effects literature using unique new survey and administrative data.
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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:90:y:2006:i:8-9:p:1435-1454

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Stinebrickner Ralph & Stinebrickner Todd R., 2008. "The Causal Effect of Studying on Academic Performance," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-55, June.
    3. Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd R. Stinebrickner, 2003. "Understanding Educational Outcomes of Students from Low-Income Families: Evidence from a Liberal Arts College with a Full Tuition Subsidy Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
    4. Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 681-704.
    5. Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd R. Stinebrickner, 2003. "Working during School and Academic Performance," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 449-472, April.
    6. repec:mpr:mprres:4324 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Michael Kremer & Dan M. Levy, 2003. "Peer Effects and Alcohol Use Among College Students," NBER Working Papers 9876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Stinebrickner, Ralph & Stinebrickner, T.R.Todd R., 2004. "Time-use and college outcomes," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 243-269.
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    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J - Labor and Demographic Economics


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