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Understanding Peer Effects: On the Nature, Estimation and Channels of Peer Effects

Listed author(s):
  • Feld, Jan

    ()

    (School of Economics and Finance, Victoria University of Wellington)

  • Zölitz, Ulf

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Maastricht University)

This paper estimates peer effects in a university context where students are randomly assigned to sections. While students benefit from better peers on average, low-achieving students are harmed by high-achieving peers. Analyzing students’ course evaluations suggests that peer effects are driven by improved group interaction rather than adjustments in teachers’ behavior or students' effort. We further show, building on Angrist (2014), that classical measurement error in a setting where group assignment is systematic can lead to substantial overestimation of peer effects. With random assignment, as is the case in our setting, estimates are only attenuated.

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File URL: https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/36036
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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 596.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2014
Date of revision: Oct 2015
Publication status: Published as Feld, Jan and Ulf Zölitz, 'Understanding Peer Effects: On the Nature, Estimation and Channels of Peer Effects' in Journal of Labor Economics, 2017, pages 387-428.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0596
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden

Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/

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  1. Andreas Ammermueller & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 315-348, July.
  2. Mary A. Burke & Tim R. Sass, 2013. "Classroom Peer Effects and Student Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 51-82.
  3. Victor Lavy & M. Daniele Paserman & Analia Schlosser, 2012. "Inside the Black Box of Ability Peer Effects: Evidence from Variation in the Proportion of Low Achievers in the Classroom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(559), pages 208-237, March.
  4. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 2001. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 235-260.
  5. Giorgio Brunello & Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2010. "Peer Effects In Higher Education: Does The Field Of Study Matter?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 621-634, July.
  6. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 2001. "How Large are Human-Capital Externalities? Evidence from Compulsory-Schooling Laws," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 9-74 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jan Feld & Nicolás Salamanca & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2016. "Endophilia or Exophobia: Beyond Discrimination," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(594), pages 1503-1527, August.
  8. 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 1739-1774, August.
  9. Timothy Conley & Nirav Mehta & Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner, 2015. "Social Interactions, Mechanisms, and Equilibrium: Evidence from a Model of Study Time and Academic Achievement," NBER Working Papers 21418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Peter Arcidiacono & Gigi Foster & Natalie Goodpaster & Josh Kinsler, 2012. "Estimating spillovers using panel data, with an application to the classroom," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(3), pages 421-470, November.
  11. Scott E. Carrell & Bruce I. Sacerdote & James E. West, 2013. "From Natural Variation to Optimal Policy? The Importance of Endogenous Peer Group Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(3), pages 855-882, May.
  12. Giacomo De Giorgi & Michele Pellizzari & William Gui Woolston, 2012. "Class Size And Class Heterogeneity," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 795-830, August.
  13. Scott E. Carrell & Richard L. Fullerton & James E. West, 2009. "Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 439-464, July.
  14. David S. Lyle, 2007. "Estimating and Interpreting Peer and Role Model Effects from Randomly Assigned Social Groups at West Point," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 289-299, May.
  15. Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner & Nirav Mehta & Timothy Conley, 2015. "How social interactions determine input choices and outcomes in equilibrium: Evidence from a model of study time and academic achievement," 2015 Meeting Papers 1175, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  16. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
  17. Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 681-704.
  18. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803.
  20. Murdoch, Duncan J. & Tsai, Yu-Ling & Adcock, James, 2008. "P-Values are Random Variables," The American Statistician, American Statistical Association, vol. 62, pages 242-245, August.
  21. Xu Lin, 2010. "Identifying Peer Effects in Student Academic Achievement by Spatial Autoregressive Models with Group Unobservables," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 825-860, October.
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