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Classroom Peer Effects and Student Achievement

Author

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  • Mary A. Burke

    (Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)

  • Tim R. Sass

    (Department of Economics, Florida State University)

Abstract

In this paper we analyze a unique micro-level panel data set encompassing all publicschool students in grades 3-10 in the state of Florida for each of the years 1999/2000-2003/2004.We are able to directly link each student and teacher to a specific classroom and can thus identifyeach member of a student’s classroom peer group. The ability to track individual studentsthrough multiple classrooms over time and multiple classes for each teacher enables us to controlfor many sources of spurious peer effects such as fixed individual student characteristics andfixed teacher inputs, as well as to compare the strength of peer effects across different groupingsof peers, across grade levels, and to compare the effects of fixed versus time-varying peercharacteristics. We find mixed results on the importance of peers in the linear-in-means model,and resolve some of these apparent conflicts by considering non-linear specifications of peereffects. The results suggest that some grouping by ability may create Pareto improvements overuniformly mixed classrooms. In general we find that contemporaneous behavior wields strongerinfluence than peers’ fixed characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary A. Burke & Tim R. Sass, 2006. "Classroom Peer Effects and Student Achievement," Working Papers wp2006_02_02, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:fsu:wpaper:wp2006_02_02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Peer Effects; Student Achievement;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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