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Isolating Peer Effects in the Returns to College Selectivity

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Listed:
  • Nicolás de Roux
  • Evan Riehl

Abstract

This paper asks how a student’s classmates affect her returns to college. We exploit a “tracking†admission system at a selective Colombian university that led to large differences in mean classmate ability for students in the same programs. In a regression discontinuity design, we find that students in higher-ability classes were more likely to fail courses and drop out, and had lower earnings one decade later. Testable predictions from a human capital model with peer externalities show that individuals learned less in more able classrooms. Our findings suggest that exposure to higher-ability college peers can harm an individual’s career trajectory.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolás de Roux & Evan Riehl, 2019. "Isolating Peer Effects in the Returns to College Selectivity," Documentos CEDE 017413, Universidad de los Andes – Facultad de Economía – CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:017413
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    College Selectivity; Peer Effects; Returns to Education;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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