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Do Peers Affect Student Achievement? Evidence from Canada Using Group Size Variation

  • Vincent Boucher
  • Yann Bramoullé
  • Habiba Djebbari
  • Bernard Fortin

We provide the first empirical application of a new approach proposed by Lee (2007) to estimate peer effects in a linear-in-means model. This approach allows to control for group-level unobservables and to solve the reflection problem. We investigate peer effects in student achievement in Mathematics, Science, French and History in Quebec secondary schools. We estimate the model using maximum likelihood and instrumental variables methods. We find evidence of peer effects. The endogenous peer effect is positive, when significant, and some contextual peer effects matter. Using calibrated Monte Carlo simulations, we find that high dispersion in group sizes helps with potential issues of weak identification. Nous présentons une première application empirique d'une nouvelle approche développée par Lee (2007) pour estimer les effets de pairs dans un modèle linéaire-en-moyenne. Cette méthode permet de tenir compte des variables non-observées au niveau du groupe et de solutionner le problème de réflexion. Nous estimons les effets de pairs sur la performance scolaire (mesurée par les résultats aux épreuves du ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport) en Mathématiques, en Science, en Français et en Histoire dans les écoles secondaires du Québec. À cette fin, nous utilisons des méthodes de maximum de vraisemblance et de variables instrumentales. Nos résultats corroborent la présence d'effets de pairs. L'effet de pair endogène est positif, lorsqu'il est significatif. En particulier, une hausse d'un point dans la note moyenne de ses pairs accroît la note de l'élève de 0,5 en Français, de 0,65 en Histoire et 0,83 en Math (514). En outre, certains effets contextuels ont de l'importance. À partir de simulations Monte Carlo, nous trouvons qu'une grande variabilité dans la taille des groupes peut réduire les problèmes d'identification faible.

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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2010s-08.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2010s-08
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