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Under Pressure? The Effect of Peers on Outcomes of Young Adults

  • Black, Sandra
  • Devereux, Paul J.
  • Salvanes, Kjell G

A variety of public campaigns, including the "Just Say No" campaign of the 1980s and 1990s that encouraged teenagers to "Just Say No to Drugs", are based on the premise that teenagers are very susceptible to peer influences. Despite this, very little is known about the effect of school peers on the long-run outcomes of teenagers. This is primarily due to two factors: the absence of information on peers merged with long-run outcomes of individuals and, equally important, the difficulty of separately identifying the role of peers. This paper uses data on the population of Norway and idiosyncratic variation in cohort composition within schools to examine the role of peer composition in 9th grade on longer-run outcomes such as IQ scores at age 18, teenage childbearing, post-compulsory schooling educational track, adult labor market status, and earnings. We find that outcomes are influenced by the proportion of females in the grade, and these effects differ for men and women. Other peer variables (average age, average mother’s education) have little impact on the outcomes of teenagers.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7851.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7851
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  1. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2007. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," Working Papers 1001, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Education Research Section..
  2. Francis Kramarz & Stephen Machin & Amine Ouazad, 2009. "What Makes a Test Score? The Respective Contributions of Pupils, Schools and Peers in Achievement in English Primary Education," CEE Discussion Papers 0102, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  3. Andreas Ammermueller & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2006. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from PIRLS," NBER Working Papers 12180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. V. Joseph Hotz & Seth G. Sanders & Susan Williams McElroy, 1999. "Teenage Childbearing and Its Life Cycle Consequences: Exploiting a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 7397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2003. "Why the apple doesn't fall far: understanding intergenerational transmission of human capital," CeMMAP working papers CWP16/03, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  7. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2011. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1739-74, August.
  8. Gould, Eric D & Lavy, Victor & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2005. "Does Immigration Affect the Long-Term Educational Outcomes of Natives? Quasi-Experimental Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 5439, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Elizabeth Cascio & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2007. "First in the Class? Age and the Education Production Function," NBER Working Papers 13663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Jacob M. Markman & Steven G. Rivkin, 2001. "Does Peer Ability Affect Student Achievement?," NBER Working Papers 8502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Haegeland, Torbjørn & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2005. "Pupil Achievement, School Resources and Family Background," IZA Discussion Papers 1459, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803.
  13. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2008. "Too Young to Leave the Nest: The Effects of School Starting Age," NBER Working Papers 13969, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. Kang, Changhui, 2007. "Classroom peer effects and academic achievement: Quasi-randomization evidence from South Korea," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 458-495, May.
  16. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-91, October.
  17. Paul J. Devereux & Sandra E. Black & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "The more the merrier? The effect of family size and birth order on children's education," Open Access publications 10197/310, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  18. Victor Lavy & Olmo Silva & Felix Weinhardt, 2009. "The Good, the Bad and the Average: Evidence on the Scale and Nature of Ability Peer Effects in Schools," NBER Working Papers 15600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Scott E. Carrell & Richard L. Fullerton & James E. West, 2008. "Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  21. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
  22. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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