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Does peer ability affect student achievement?

  • Jacob M. Markman

    (Department of Economics, Converse Hall, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002, USA)

  • Eric A. Hanushek

    (Stanford University, National Bureau of Economic Research and University of Texas at Dallas. Hoover Institution, 434 Galvez Mall, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010, USA)

  • John F. Kain

    (University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX, USA (Deceased))

  • Steven G. Rivkin

    (Amherst College, National Bureau of Economic Research and University of Texas at Dallas. Department of Economics, Converse Hall, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002, USA)

Empirical analysis of peer effects on student achievement has been open to question because of the difficulties of separating peer effects from other confounding influences. While most econometric attention has been directed at issues of simultaneous determination of peer interactions, we argue that issues of omitted and mismeasured variables are likely to be more important. We control for the most important determinants of achievement that will confound peer estimates by removing student and school-by-grade fixed effects in addition to observable family and school characteristics. The analysis also addresses the reciprocal nature of peer interactions and the interpretation of estimates based upon models using past achievement as the measure of peer group quality. The results indicate that peer achievement has a positive effect on achievement growth. Moreover, students throughout the school test score distribution appear to benefit from higher achieving schoolmates. On the other hand, the variance in achievement appears to have no systematic effect. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Applied Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2003)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 527-544

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Handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:18:y:2003:i:5:p:527-544
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  1. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 2000. "Interactions-Based Models," Working Papers 00-05-028, Santa Fe Institute.
  2. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803, August.
  3. O'Regan, Katherine M. & Quigley, John M., 1998. "Accessibility and Economic Opportunity," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt94s780fq, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  4. Roland Benabou, 1991. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," NBER Technical Working Papers 0113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects Of Class Size On Student Achievement: New Evidence From Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285, November.
  6. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Hanushek, Eric A, 1992. "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 84-117, February.
  10. Ron W Zimmer & Eugenia F Toma, 2000. "Peer effects in private and public schools across countries," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 75-92.
  11. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
  12. Hanushek, Eric A. & Kain, John F. & Rivkin, Steven G., 2004. "Disruption versus Tiebout improvement: the costs and benefits of switching schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1721-1746, August.
  13. Summers, Anita A & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1977. "Do Schools Make a Difference?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 639-52, September.
  14. Manski, C.F., 1991. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: the Reflection Problem," Working papers 9127, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  15. Jens Otto Ludwig & Greg Duncan & Paul Hirschfield, 2000. "Urban Poverty and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Randomized Housing-Mobility Experiment," JCPR Working Papers 158, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  16. Elizabeth M. Caucutt, 2002. "Educational Vouchers When There Are Peer Group Effects--Size Matters," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(1), pages 195-222, February.
  17. Henderson, Vernon & Mieszkowski, Peter & Sauvageau, Yvon, 1978. "Peer group effects and educational production functions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 97-106, August.
  18. Laura M. Argys & Daniel I. Rees & Dominic J. Brewer, 1996. "Detracking America's schools: Equity at zero cost?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 623-645.
  19. Eric A. Hanushek, 1979. "Conceptual and Empirical Issues in the Estimation of Educational Production Functions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 351-388.
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