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Be as Careful of the Books You Read as of the Company You Keep: Evidence on Peer Effects in Educational Choices

Author

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  • De Giorgi, Giacomo

    () (University of Geneva)

  • Pellizzari, Michele

    () (University of Geneva)

  • Redaelli, Silvia

    () (Bocconi University)

Abstract

In this paper we investigate whether peers’ behavior influences the choice of college major. Using a unique dataset of students at Bocconi University and exploiting the organization of teaching at this institution, we are able to identify the endogenous effect of peers on such decision through a novel identification strategy which solves the common econometric problems of studies of social interactions. Results show that, indeed, one is more likely to choose a major when many of her peers make the same choice. We estimate that, when it diverts students from majors in which they seem to have a relative ability advantage, this effect leads to lower average grades and graduation mark, a penalty that could cost up to 1,117 USD a year in the labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • De Giorgi, Giacomo & Pellizzari, Michele & Redaelli, Silvia, 2007. "Be as Careful of the Books You Read as of the Company You Keep: Evidence on Peer Effects in Educational Choices," IZA Discussion Papers 2833, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2833
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Frijters & Asadul Islam & Debayan Pakrashi, 2016. "Can we select the right peers in Indian Education? Evidence from Kolkata," Monash Economics Working Papers 39-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    2. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2010. "Peer group effects on the academic performance of Italian students," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(17), pages 2203-2215.
    3. 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.
    4. Goulas, Sofoklis & Megalokonomou, Rigissa, 2015. "Social Interactions Through Space and Time: Evidence from College Enrollment and Academic Mobility," MPRA Paper 65882, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2009. "Peer Effects and Social Networks in Education," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 1239-1267.
    6. Sarigul, Sercan & Rui, Huaxia, 2014. "Nowcasting Obesity in the U.S. Using Google Search Volume Data," 2014 AAEA/EAAE/CAES Joint Symposium: Social Networks, Social Media and the Economics of Food, May 29-30, 2014, Montreal, Canada 166113, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Canadian Agricultural Economics Society;European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    7. Carmen Aina, 2010. "The Determinants of Educational Attainment, University Drop-out and Time-to-Degree. A focus on Italy," Working Papers 132, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
    8. Bramoullé, Yann & Djebbari, Habiba & Fortin, Bernard, 2009. "Identification of peer effects through social networks," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 150(1), pages 41-55, May.
    9. Billari, Francesco C. & Pellizzari, Michele, 2008. "The Younger, the Better? Relative Age Effects at University," IZA Discussion Papers 3795, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Richards, Timothy J. & Tiwari, Ashutosh, 2014. "Social Networks and Restaurant Choice," 2014 AAEA/EAAE/CAES Joint Symposium: Social Networks, Social Media and the Economics of Food, May 29-30, 2014, Montreal, Canada 166112, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Canadian Agricultural Economics Society;European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    11. Tiwari, Ashutosh & Richards, Timothy J., 2013. "Anonymous Social Networks versus Peer Networks in Restaurant Choice," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150467, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    12. Lucia Corno, 2012. "Peer Effects on Criminal Behavior. Evidence from the homeless," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2012015, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
    13. Yann Bramoullé & Bernard Fortin, 2009. "The Econometrics of Social Networks," Cahiers de recherche 0913, CIRPEE.
    14. José-Alberto Guerra & Myra Mohnen, 2017. "Multinomial choice with social interactions: occupations in Victorian London," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 015667, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social interaction; education; peer effects; reflection;

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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