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On the optimal allocation of students when peer effect works: Tracking vs Mixing

  • Marisa Hidalgo-Hidalgo

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Universidad Pablo de Olavide)

The belief that the behaviour and outcomes of compulsory school students are affected by their peers has been important in shaping education policy. I analyze two polar education systems -tracking and mixing- and propose several criteria for their comparison. The system that maximizes average human capital, I find, depends crucially on the level of complementarity between peer effects and individuals' ability. I also find that when mean innate ability is much higher among the rich than among the poor, the system that best maximizes average human capital is mixing. However, there is no unanimity in the overall population so as to which system to choose.

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File URL: http://www.upo.es/serv/bib/wps/econ0714.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
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Paper provided by Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 07.14.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pab:wpaper:07.14
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  1. Gordon C. Winston & David J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Peer Effects in Higher Education," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-64, Department of Economics, Williams College.
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  2. Ron W Zimmer & Eugenia F Toma, 2000. "Peer effects in private and public schools across countries," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 75-92.
  3. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard & Sieg, Holger, 2000. "Peer Effects, Financial Aid, and Selection of Students into Colleges and Universities: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 00-02, Duke University, Department of Economics.
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  15. Kang, Changhui, 2007. "Classroom peer effects and academic achievement: Quasi-randomization evidence from South Korea," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 458-495, May.
  16. Figlio, David N. & Page, Marianne E., 2002. "School Choice and the Distributional Effects of Ability Tracking: Does Separation Increase Inequality?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 497-514, May.
  17. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-91, October.
  18. Rees, Daniel I. & Argys, Laura M. & Brewer, Dominic J., 1996. "Tracking in the United States: Descriptive statistics from NELS," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 83-89, February.
  19. Streufert, Peter, 2000. " The Effect of Underclass Social Isolation on Schooling Choice," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(4), pages 461-82.
  20. Marisa Hidalgo, 2005. "Peer Group Effects And Optimal Education System," Working Papers. Serie AD 2005-12, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  21. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Roemer, J-E & Wets, R-J-B, 1994. "Neighborhood Effects on Belief Formation and the Distribution of Education and Income," Papers 94-02, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
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  24. Feinstein, Leon & Symons, James, 1999. "Attainment in Secondary School," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 300-321, April.
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