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Peer Effects in Disadvantaged Primary Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Antecol, Heather

    () (Claremont McKenna College)

  • Eren, Ozkan

    () (University of California, Riverside)

  • Ozbeklik, Serkan

    () (Claremont McKenna College)

Abstract

We examine the effect of peer achievement on students' own achievement and teacher performance in primary schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods using data from a well-executed randomized experiment in seven states. Contrary to the existing literature, we find that the average classroom peer achievement adversely influences own student achievement in math and reading in linear-in-means models. Extending our analysis to take into account the potential non-linearity in the peer effects leads to non-negligible differences along the achievement distribution. We test several models of peer effects to further understand their underlying mechanisms. While we find no evidence to support the monotonicity model and little evidence in favor of the ability grouping model, we find stronger evidence to support the frame of reference and the invidious comparison models. Moreover, we also find that higher achieving classes improve teaching performance in math. Finally, using a simple policy experiment we find suggestive evidence that tracking students by ability potentially benefits students who end up in a low achievement class while hurting students in a high achievement class.

Suggested Citation

  • Antecol, Heather & Eren, Ozkan & Ozbeklik, Serkan, 2013. "Peer Effects in Disadvantaged Primary Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7694, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7694
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kien Le & My Nguyen, 2019. "‘Bad Apple’ peer effects in elementary classrooms: the case of corporal punishment in the home," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(6), pages 557-572, November.
    2. Ozkan Eren, 2017. "Differential Peer Effects, Student Achievement, and Student Absenteeism: Evidence From a Large-Scale Randomized Experiment," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(2), pages 745-773, April.
    3. Thomas Ahn & Christopher Jepsen, 2015. "The effect of sharing a mother tongue with peers: evidence from North Carolina middle schools," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-21, December.
    4. Ozkan Eren, 2016. "Differential Peer Effects, Student Achievement, and Student Absenteeism: Evidence from a Large Scale Randomized Experiment," Departmental Working Papers 2016-01, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    5. Jana Gross & Simone Balestra & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2017. "Class Size in Early Grades, Student Grit and Later School Outcomes," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0129, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Sep 2018.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    random assignment; student achievement; peer effects;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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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