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Persistent Classmates: How Familiarity with Peers Protects from Disruptive School Transitions

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  • Son Thierry Ly

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Arnaud Riegert

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, INSEE - Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques - INSEE)

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of classmates' characteristics on students' achievement in high school, exploiting natural experiments occuring sporadically in French high schools. High school principals do not know their first-year students at the time they assign them to classes, so they do the allocation using only a limited set of information available on their registration files. In some rare cases, they have to assign to separate classes two or more students who look nearly identical, according to the information they observe in their files. We provide strong evidence suggesting that such first-year students are randomly assigned to their classes. When using these quasi-experiments to investigate the role of several classmates' characteristics, we find an important, positive effect of assignment with more persistent classmates, i.e. classmates who were already in the freshman's class before high school. We provide strong evidence that this result derives from the benefit of familiarity with peers, rather than from some unobserved ability characteristics of these classmates. The magnitude of the estimates suggests that grouping low-achieving freshmen who know each other could decrease their current repetition rate by around 13~percent, and raise their graduation rate by the same amount.

Suggested Citation

  • Son Thierry Ly & Arnaud Riegert, 2014. "Persistent Classmates: How Familiarity with Peers Protects from Disruptive School Transitions," PSE Working Papers halshs-00842265, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00842265
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00842265v2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gibbons, Stephen & Silva, Olmo & Weinhardt, Felix, 2017. "Neighbourhood Turnover and Teenage Attainment," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 746-783.
    2. Luc Behaghel & Clément de Chaisemartin & Marc Gurgand, 2017. "Ready for Boarding? The Effects of a Boarding School for Disadvantaged Students," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 140-164, January.
    3. Goux, Dominique & Gurgand, Marc & Maurin, Eric, 2014. "Adjusting Your Dreams? The Effect of School and Peers on Dropout Behaviour," IZA Discussion Papers 7948, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    Keywords

    Friendships; Social Networks; High schools; Class composition; Peer effects;
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