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Discrimination and Social Networks: Popularity among High School Students in Argentina


  • Víctor Elías
  • Lucas Ronconi
  • Julio Elías


The objective of this paper is to better understand peer popularity during adolescence and detect discrimination. High school students in Argentina are asked to select and rank 10 classmates with whom they would like to form a team to perform school activities, and this information is then used to construct a measure of popularity. The paper subsequently explores how student’s characteristics affect their popularity. It is found that physically attractive students and with high academic performance are highly ranked by their peers, but the former effect is only significant in mixed schools, suggesting that is primarily driven by mating. Other traits, such as skin color, nationality and parental socioeconomic background do not affect peer popularity, although ethnic origin and parental education are statistically significant in some specifications. The findings are informative about discrimination in the school system. In particular, it appears that the unequal treatment based on race, wealth and nationality found in other social environments in Argentina is not observed among adolescents attending school. Also analyzed is what to expect about the sorting of individuals into different groups and other aspects of grouping and networking in schools. The analysis suggests that a high degree of positive sorting should be expected in academic performance and beauty.

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  • Víctor Elías & Lucas Ronconi & Julio Elías, 2007. "Discrimination and Social Networks: Popularity among High School Students in Argentina," Research Department Publications 3238, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3238

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    1. Angrist, Joshua D & Lavy, Victor, 1997. "The Effect of a Change in Language of Instruction on the Returns to Schooling in Morocco," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 48-76, January.
    2. Galeotti, Andrea & Mueller, Gerrit, 2005. "Friendship Relations in the School Class and Adult Economic Attainment," IZA Discussion Papers 1682, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Kuhn, Peter J. & Weinberger, Catherine, 2002. "Leadership Skills and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 482, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Banerjee, Abhijit V. & Duflo, Esther, 2005. "Growth Theory through the Lens of Development Economics," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 473-552 Elsevier.
    5. Heckman, James & Layne-Farrar, Anne & Todd, Petra, 1996. "Human Capital Pricing Equations with an Application to Estimating the Effect of Schooling Quality on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 562-610, November.
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    1. Krekhovets, Ekaterina & Poldin, Oleg, 2015. "An empirical analysis of students’ friendship ties formation," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 40(4), pages 49-63.

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