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Ordinal Rank and Peer Composition: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

Author

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  • Bertoni, Marco

    (University of Padova)

  • Nistico, Roberto

    (University of Naples Federico II)

Abstract

We use data from two experiments that randomly assign students to groups to show that, so long as ordinal rank has a causal effect on educational achievement, estimates of the effects of peer ability composition obtained from models that omit rank are downward biased. This finding holds both in the standard linear-in-means model as well as in models that allow for non-linear and heterogeneous peer effects, and contributes to explain why previous studies have detected only modest effects of peer ability on achievement. We also illustrate how this finding helps understand the mechanisms behind the effects of ability tracking policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Bertoni, Marco & Nistico, Roberto, 2019. "Ordinal Rank and Peer Composition: Two Sides of the Same Coin?," IZA Discussion Papers 12789, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12789
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Delaney, Judith M. & Devereux, Paul J., 2021. "High School Rank in Math and English and the Gender Gap in STEM," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    2. Benjamin Elsner & Ingo E. Isphording & Ulf Zölitz, 2021. "Achievement Rank Affects Performance and Major Choices in College," Working Papers 202110, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    3. Elsner, Benjamin & Isphording, Ingo E. & Zölitz, Ulf, 2021. "Achievement Rank Affects Performance and Major Choices in College," IZA Discussion Papers 14320, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Benjamin Elsner & Ingo E. Isphording & Ulf Zoelitz, 2021. "Achievement Rank Affects Performance and Major Choices in College," Working Papers 202105, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    5. Judith M. Delaney & Paul J. Devereux, 2019. "The Effect of High School Rank in English and Math on College Major Choice," Working Papers 201931, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    6. Benjamin Elsner & Ingo E. Isphording & Ulf Zölitz, 2021. "Achievement Rank Affects Performance and Major Choices in College," CESifo Working Paper Series 9040, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    rank effects; peer effects; omitted variables bias; ability tracking;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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