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Peer Heterogeneity, School Tracking and Students’ Performances: Evidence from PISA 2006

  • Michele Raitano
  • Francesco Vona

The empirical literature using large international students’ assessments tends to neglect the role of school composition variables in order not to incur in a misidentification of peer effects. However, this could lead to an error of higher logical type since the learning environment crucially depends on peer variables. In this paper, using PISA 2006, we show how peer heterogeneity is a key determinant of students’ attainments. Interestingly, the effect of peer variables differs depending on the country tracking policy: peer heterogeneity reduces efficiency in comprehensive systems whereas it has a non-linear impact in early-tracking ones. In turn, linear peer effects are larger in early-tracking systems. Results remain robust in both student- and school-level regressions and when we add school-level dummies and several controls correlated with the school choice to alleviate the selectivity bias.

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Paper provided by University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics in its series Working Papers with number 143.

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Length: 37
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sap:wpaper:wp143
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  1. Schneeweis, Nicole & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2005. "Peer Effects in Austrian Schools," CEPR Discussion Papers 5018, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Epple, Dennis & Newlon, Elizabeth & Romano, Richard, 2002. "Ability tracking, school competition, and the distribution of educational benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 1-48, January.
  3. Thomas Fuchs & Ludger Wößmann, 2007. "What accounts for international differences in student performance? A re-examination using PISA data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 433-464, May.
  4. Ammermüller, Andreas & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2006. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from PIRLS," IZA Discussion Papers 2077, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. John H. Bishop & Ludger Wößmann, 2001. "Institutional Effects in a Simple Model of Educational Production," Kiel Working Papers 1085, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  6. Fertig, Michael, 2003. "Educational Production, Endogenous Peer Group Formation and Class Composition – Evidence from the PISA 2000 Study," IZA Discussion Papers 714, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. V. Vandenberghe, 2002. "Evaluating the magnitude and the stakes of peer effects analysing science and math achievement across OECD," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(10), pages 1283-1290.
  8. Entorf, Horst & Lauk, Martina, 2006. "Peer Effects, Social Multipliers and Migrants at School: An International Comparison," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 36777, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute of Economics (VWL).
  9. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Ganzeboom, H.B.G. & de Graaf, P.M. & Treiman, D.J. & de Leeuw, J., 1992. "A standard international socio-economic index of occupational status," WORC Paper 85970031-d601-46e3-befb-1, Tilburg University, Work and Organization Research Centre.
  11. de Bartolome, Charles A M, 1990. "Equilibrium and Inefficiency in a Community Model with Peer Group Effects," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 110-33, February.
  12. McEwan, Patrick J., 2003. "Peer effects on student achievement: evidence from Chile," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 131-141, April.
  13. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
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