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On the Mechanisms of Ability Peer Effects

Author

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  • de Gendre, Alexandra

    (University of Sydney)

  • Salamanca, Nicolás

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research)

Abstract

Studying with higher ability peers increases student performance, yet we have little idea why. We exploit random assignment of students to classrooms and find positive peer effects on test scores. With rich data on nineteen potential mechanisms, we then estimate how effects on attitudes, parents, and teachers could drive these results. Higher-achieving peers reduce student effort, increase student university aspirations, increase parental time investments and parental strictness, and have precise null effects elsewhere. None of these mechanisms, however, explain our peer effect on test scores. Our results highlight promising avenues for understanding ability peer effects.

Suggested Citation

  • de Gendre, Alexandra & Salamanca, Nicolás, 2020. "On the Mechanisms of Ability Peer Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 13938, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13938
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    Keywords

    random assignment; standardized test; parental investments; school inputs; mediation analysis;
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    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation

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