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Peers' Composition Effects in the Short and in the Long Run: College Major, College Performance and Income

Author

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  • Anelli, Massimo

    (Bocconi University)

  • Peri, Giovanni

    (University of California, Davis)

Abstract

In this paper we use a newly constructed dataset following 30,000 Italian individuals from high school to labor market and we analyze whether the gender composition of peers in high school affected their choice of college major, their academic performance and their labor market income. We leverage the fact that the composition of high school classmates (peers), within school-cohort and teacher-group, was not chosen by the students and it was as good as random. We find that male students graduating from classes with at least 80% of male peers were more likely to choose "prevalently male" (PM) college majors (Economics, Business and Engineering). However, this higher propensity to enroll in PM majors faded away during college (through transfers and attrition) so that men from classes with at least 80% of male peers in high school did not have higher probability of graduating in PM majors. They had instead worse college performance and did not exhibit any difference in income or labor market outcomes after college. We do not find significant effects on women.

Suggested Citation

  • Anelli, Massimo & Peri, Giovanni, 2015. "Peers' Composition Effects in the Short and in the Long Run: College Major, College Performance and Income," IZA Discussion Papers 9119, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9119
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    Cited by:

    1. Marta De Philippis, 2016. "STEM Graduates and Secondary School Curriculum: Does Early Exposure to Science Matter?," CEP Discussion Papers dp1443, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Scott E. Carrell & Mark Hoekstra & Elira Kuka, 2018. "The Long-Run Effects of Disruptive Peers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(11), pages 3377-3415, November.
    3. Claudia Olivetti & Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2020. "Mothers, Peers, and Gender-Role Identity," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 266-301.
    4. Rodríguez-Planas, Núria & Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna & Terskaya, Anastasia, 2018. "Independent Thinking and Hard Working, or Caring and Well Behaved? Short- and Long-Term Impacts of Gender Identity Norms," IZA Discussion Papers 11694, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    choice of college major; gender; high school; peer effects; academic performance; wages;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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