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Peer Quality and the Academic Benefits to Attending Better Schools

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  • Mark Hoekstra
  • Pierre Mouganie
  • Yaojing Wang

Abstract

Despite strong demand for attending high schools with better peers, there is mixed evidence on whether doing so improves academic outcomes. We estimate the cognitive returns to high school quality using administrative data on a high-stakes college entrance exam in China. To overcome selection bias, we use a regression discontinuity design that compares applicants barely above and below high school admission thresholds. Results indicate that while peer quality improves significantly across all sets of admission cutoffs, the only increase in performance occurs from attending Tier I high schools. Further evidence suggests that the returns to high school quality are driven by teacher quality, rather than peer quality or class size.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Hoekstra & Pierre Mouganie & Yaojing Wang, 2016. "Peer Quality and the Academic Benefits to Attending Better Schools," NBER Working Papers 22337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22337
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Monso & Denis Fougere & Pauline Givord & Claudine Pirus, 2019. "Les camarades influencent-ils la réussite et le parcours des élèves ? Une revue de littérature sur les effets de pairs dans l’enseignement primaire et secondaire," Sciences Po publications 86, Sciences Po.
    2. Dasgupta, Utteeyo & Mani, Subha & Sharma, Smriti & Singhal, Saurabh, 2017. "Cognitive, Socioemotional and Behavioral Returns to College Quality," IZA Discussion Papers 10701, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Mouganie, Pierre & Wang, Yaojing, 2017. "High Performing Peers and Female STEM Choices in School," MPRA Paper 81860, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Giolito, Eugenio, 2018. "Minimum Age Requirements and the Impact of School Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 11420, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Fritz Schiltz & Deni Mazrekaj & Daniel Horn & Kristof De Witte, 2018. "Does It Matter When Your Smartest Peers Leave Your Class? Evidence from Hungary," Budapest Working Papers on the Labour Market 1804, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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