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Can Higher-Achieving Peers Explain the Benefits to Attending Selective Schools?: Evidence from Trinidad and Tobago

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  • C. Kirabo Jackson

Abstract

Using exogenous secondary school assignments to remove self-selection bias to schools and peers within schools, I credibly estimate both (1) the effect of attending schools with higher-achieving peers, and (2) the direct effect of short-run peer quality improvements within schools, on the same population. While students at schools with higher-achieving peers have better academic achievement, within-school short-run increases in peer achievement improve outcomes only at high-achievement schools. Short-run (direct) peer quality accounts for only one tenth of school value-added on average, but at least one-third among the most selective schools. There are large and important differences by gender.

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  • C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "Can Higher-Achieving Peers Explain the Benefits to Attending Selective Schools?: Evidence from Trinidad and Tobago," NBER Working Papers 16598, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16598
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    2. Ana Balsa, 2016. "Peer effects vs. parental influence in the development of capabilities in adolescence," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1609, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
    3. Ludovica Gazze & Claudia Persico & Sandra Spirovska, 2024. "The Long-Run Spillover Effects of Pollution: How Exposure to Lead Affects Everyone in the Classroom," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 357-394.
    4. Ana Balsa & Néstor Gandelman & Flavia Roldán, 2017. "Peer and parental influence in the development of cognitive skills and predispostion to risky behaviour," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1701, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
    5. Mark Hoekstra & Pierre Mouganie & Yaojing Wang, 2018. "Peer Quality and the Academic Benefits to Attending Better Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(4), pages 841-884.
    6. Fanny Landaud & Son Thierry Ly & Éric Maurin, 2020. "Competitive Schools and the Gender Gap in the Choice of Field of Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 55(1), pages 278-308.
    7. Figlio, D. & Karbownik, K. & Salvanes, K.G., 2016. "Education Research and Administrative Data," Handbook of the Economics of Education,, Elsevier.
    8. Canaan, Serena & Mouganie, Pierre & Zhang, Peng, 2022. "The Long-Run Educational Benefits of High-Achieving Classrooms," IZA Discussion Papers 15039, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Heather Antecol & Ozkan Eren & Serkan Ozbeklik, 2016. "Peer Effects in Disadvantaged Primary Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(1), pages 95-132.
    10. Paulo Bastos & Julian Cristia & Beomsoo Kim, 2016. "Good schools or good students? Evidence on school effects from universal random assignment of students to high schools," Discussion Paper Series 1607, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
    11. Richard J. Paulsen, 2022. "Peer effects and human capital accumulation: Time spent in college and productivity in the National Basketball Association," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 43(8), pages 3611-3619, December.
    12. Balsa, Ana & Gandelman, Néstor & Roldán, Flavia, 2018. "Peer and parental influence in academic performance and alcohol use," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 41-55.
    13. Anderson, Kathryn & Gong, Xue & Hong, Kai & Zhang, Xi, 2016. "Do selective high schools improve student achievement? Effects of exam schools in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 121-134.
    14. Diether Beuermann & C. Kirabo Jackson & Ricardo Sierra, 2015. "Privately Managed Public Secondary Schools and Academic Achievement in Trinidad and Tobago: Evidence from Rule-Based Student Assignments," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 91836, Inter-American Development Bank.
    15. Alexandra de Gendre & Nicolás Salamanca, 2020. "On the Mechanisms of Ability Peer Effects," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2020n19, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    16. Bertoni, Marco & Nisticò, Roberto, 2023. "Ordinal rank and the structure of ability peer effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 217(C).
    17. Aizhan Ramazanova & Dana Kerimkhanova, 2017. "Scholarly prowess or learned helplessness? The case of Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools in Kazakhstan," Nonpartisan Education Review, Nonpartisan Education Review, vol. 13(2), pages 1-17.
    18. David J. Deming & Justine S. Hastings & Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2014. "School Choice, School Quality, and Postsecondary Attainment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 991-1013, March.
    19. Beuermann, Diether & Jackson, C. Kirabo & Sierra, Ricardo, 2015. "Privately Managed Public Secondary Schools and Academic Achievement in Trinidad and Tobago: Evidence from Rule-Based Student Assignments," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 7308, Inter-American Development Bank.

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    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

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