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Peer Effects and Social Networks in Education

  • Antoni Calvo-Armengol
  • Eleonora Patacchini


  • Yves Zenou


    (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona,Universita di Roma "La Sapienza", Stockholm University, IFN, GAINS, and CREAM)

This paper studies whether structural properties of friendship networks affect individual outcomes in education. We first develop a model that shows that, at the Nash equilibrium, the outcome of each individual embedded in a network is proportional to her Katz-Bonacich centrality measure. This measure takes into account both direct and indirect friends of each individual but puts less weight to her distant friends. We then bring the model to the data by using a very detailed dataset of adolescent friendship networks. We show that, after controlling for observable individual characteristics and unobservable network specific factors, the individual's position in a network (as measured by her Katz-Bonacich centrality) is a key determinant of her level of activity. A standard deviation increase in the Katz-Bonacich centrality increases the pupil school performance by more than 7 percent of one standard deviation.

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Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 0814.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:0814
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  1. Zimmerman, David J., 1999. "Peer Effects in Academic Outcomes: Evidence From a Natural Experiment," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-52, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  2. Durlauf,S.N., 2001. "On the empirics of social capital," Working papers 3, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  3. Edward E. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1738, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Matthew O. Jackson & Brian W. Rogers, 2007. "Meeting Strangers and Friends of Friends: How Random Are Social Networks?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 890-915, June.
  5. Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Social Networks and Crime Decisions: The Role of Social Structure in Facilitating Delinquent Behavior," Working Paper Series 601, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  6. Vives, Xavier, 2004. "Complementarities and Games: New Developments," CEPR Discussion Papers 4742, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  8. Yann Bramoullé & Habiba Djebbari & Bernard Fortin, 2007. "Identification of Peer Effects through Social Networks," Cahiers de recherche 0705, CIRPEE.
  9. Coralio Ballester & Antoni Calvo-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2005. "Who's Who in Networks. Wanted: the Key Player," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 666156000000000586,
  10. Topa, Giorgio, 1997. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Working Papers 97-17, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  11. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  12. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Matthew O. Jackson, 2004. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 426-454, June.
  13. 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.
  14. Durlauf,S.N., 2003. "Neighborhood effects," Working papers 17, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  15. Kolstad, Charles D & Mathiesen, Lars, 1987. "Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Uniqueness of a Cournot Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 681-90, October.
  16. Leo Katz, 1953. "A new status index derived from sociometric analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 39-43, March.
  17. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  18. De Giorgi, Giacomo & Pellizzari, Michele & Redaelli, Silvia, 2007. "Be as Careful of the Books You Read as of the Company You Keep: Evidence on Peer Effects in Educational Choices," IZA Discussion Papers 2833, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Bramoulle, Yann & Kranton, Rachel, 2007. "Public goods in networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 478-494, July.
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