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Peer Effects and Students’ Self-Control

Author

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  • Berno Buechel
  • Lydia Mechtenberg
  • Julia Petersen

Abstract

We conducted a multi-wave field experiment to study the interaction of peer effects and selfcontrol among undergraduate students. We use a behavioral measure of self-control based on whether students achieve study related goals they have set for themselves. We find that both self-control and the number of talented friends increase students’ performance. We then set out to test the theoretical prediction of Battaglini, Bénabou and Tirole (2005) that (only) sufficiently self-controlled individuals profit from interactions with peers. We find that peers with high self-control are more likely to connect to others, have a higher overall number of friends and have a higher number of talented friends. Moreover, positive news about self-controlled behavior of their peers increases students’ own perseverance. Hence, our findings are consistent with the model of Battaglini, Bénabou and Tirole. In addition, we find that female students are more likely to have high self-control, but do not outperform male students. One reason for this is that female students have a lower number of talented friends than their male counterparts, thereby profiting less from positive peer effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Berno Buechel & Lydia Mechtenberg & Julia Petersen, 2014. "Peer Effects and Students’ Self-Control," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2014-024, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2014-024
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    File URL: http://sfb649.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/papers/pdf/SFB649DP2014-024.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Battaglini, Marco & Díaz, Carlos & Patacchini, Eleonora, 2017. "Self-control and peer groups: An empirical analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 240-254.
    2. Aurélie Bonein & Laurent Denant-Boèmont, 2015. "Self-control, commitment and peer pressure: a laboratory experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(4), pages 543-568, December.
    3. Gerhards, Leonie & Gravert, Christina, 2016. "Because of you I did not give up - How peers affect perseverance," Working Papers in Economics 659, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-control; Peer Influence; Social Networks; Goals; Time preferences; Procrastination; Willpower; School Performance; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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