IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Do Peers Affect Student Achievement? Evidence from Canada Using Group Size Variation

  • Boucher, Vincent
  • Bramoullé, Yann
  • Djebbari, Habiba
  • Fortin, Bernard

We provide the first empirical application of a new approach proposed by Lee (2007) to estimate peer effects in a linear-in-means model. The approach allows to control for group-level unobservables and to solve the reflection problem, without imposing ad hoc exclusion restrictions or requiring peers to be randomly assigned to groups. We investigate the presence of peer effects in student achievement in mathematics, science, french and history at the end of secondary school in the province of Quebec (Canada). We use an original dataset that covers three fourth of all schools in Quebec and contains test scores to the standardized provincial exam required for graduation. We estimate the model using both maximum likelihood and methods based on instrumental variables. We find evidence of peer effects. The endogenous peer effect is positive, when significant, and some contextual peer effects matter. Issues of weak identification that may be present in our estimates are analyzed using calibrated Monte Carlo simulations. We find that identification is much helped by a high variance in peer group sizes.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:,%20Bramoulle,%20Djebbari%20and%20Fortin.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Vancouver School of Economics in its series CLSSRN working papers with number clsrn_admin-2010-8.

in new window

Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 27 Feb 2010
Date of revision: 27 Feb 2010
Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2010-8
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. David J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Peer Effects in Academic Outcomes: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 9-23, February.
  2. Joshua D. Angrist & Kevin Lang, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1613-1634, December.
  3. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & José A. Scheinkman, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-548.
  5. Antoni Calvo-Armengol & Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2008. "Peer Effects and Social Networks in Education," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0814, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  6. Bramoullé, Yann & Djebbari, Habiba & Fortin, Bernard, 2009. "Identification of peer effects through social networks," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 150(1), pages 41-55, May.
  7. Laurent Davezies & Xavier D'Haultfoeuille & Denis Fougère, 2009. "Identification of peer effects using group size variation," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 12(3), pages 397-413, November.
  8. Alan B. Krueger, 2003. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F34-F63, February.
  9. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
  10. Stinebrickner, Ralph & Stinebrickner, Todd R., 2006. "What can be learned about peer effects using college roommates? Evidence from new survey data and students from disadvantaged backgrounds," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1435-1454, September.
  11. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Robert Bifulco & Jason M. Fletcher & Stephen L. Ross, 2011. "The Effect of Classmate Characteristics on Post-secondary Outcomes: Evidence from the Add Health," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 25-53, February.
  13. Scott E. Carrell & Richard L. Fullerton & James E. West, 2009. "Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 439-464, 07.
  14. Mary A. Burke & Tim R. Sass, 2011. "Classroom peer effects and student achievement," Public Policy Discussion Paper 11-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 681-704.
  18. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N., 2007. "Identification of binary choice models with social interactions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 52-75, September.
  19. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects of Class Size on Student Achievement: New Evidence from Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285.
  20. Kelejian, Harry H & Prucha, Ingmar R, 1998. "A Generalized Spatial Two-Stage Least Squares Procedure for Estimating a Spatial Autoregressive Model with Autoregressive Disturbances," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 99-121, July.
  21. Laurent Davezies & Xavier d'Haultfoeuille & Denis Fougère, 2007. "Identification of Peer Using Group Size Variation," Working Papers 2007-34, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  22. Michael A. Boozer & Stephen E. Cacciola, 2001. "Inside the 'Black Box' of Project STAR: Estimation of Peer Effects Using Experimental Data," Working Papers 832, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  23. Jacob M. Markman & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2003. "Does peer ability affect student achievement?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 527-544.
  24. 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.
  25. Alejandro Gaviria & Steven Raphael, 2001. "School-Based Peer Effects And Juvenile Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 257-268, May.
  26. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 2001. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 235-260.
  27. Rivkin, Steven G., 2001. "Tiebout sorting, aggregation and the estimation of peer group effects," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 201-209, June.
  28. Andreas Ammermueller & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 315-348, 07.
  29. Xu Lin, 2010. "Identifying Peer Effects in Student Academic Achievement by Spatial Autoregressive Models with Group Unobservables," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 825-860, October.
  30. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1997. "Using Maimonides' Rule to Estimate the Effect of Class Size on Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 5888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Lung-fei Lee, 2003. "Best Spatial Two-Stage Least Squares Estimators for a Spatial Autoregressive Model with Autoregressive Disturbances," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(4), pages 307-335.
  32. Lee, Lung-fei, 2007. "Identification and estimation of econometric models with group interactions, contextual factors and fixed effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 333-374, October.
  33. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803.
  34. Adele Atkinson & Simon Burgess & Paul Gregg & Carol Propper & Steven Proud, 2008. "The Impact of Classroom Peer Groups on Pupil GCSE Results," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 08/187, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  35. Bryan S. Graham, 2008. "Identifying Social Interactions Through Conditional Variance Restrictions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 643-660, 05.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2010-8. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Vivian Tran)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.