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Under Pressure? The Effect of Peers on Outcomes of Young Adults

  • Sandra E. Black

    (Department of Economics, UCLA, IZA and NBER)

  • Paul J. Devereux

    (Department of Economics,UCD, CEPR and IZA)

  • Kjell G. Salvanes

    (Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics, IZA and CEE)

A variety of public campaigns, including the “Just Say No” campaign of the 1980s and 1990s that encouraged teenagers to “Just Say No to Drugs”, are based on the premise that teenagers are very susceptible to peer influences. Despite this, very little is known about the effect of school peers on the long-run outcomes of teenagers. This is primarily due to two factors: the absence of information on peers merged with long-run outcomes of individuals and, equally important, the difficulty of separately identifying the role of peers. This paper uses data on the population of Norway and idiosyncratic variation in cohort composition within schools to examine the role of peer composition in 9th grade on longer-run outcomes such as IQ scores at age 18, teenage childbearing, postcompulsory schooling educational track, adult labor market status, and earnings. We find that outcomes are influenced by the proportion of females in the grade, and these effects differ for men and women. Other peer variables (average age, average mother’s education) have little impact on the outcomes of teenagers.

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Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201024.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 13 May 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201024
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  1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2011. "Too Young to Leave the Nest? The Effects of School Starting Age," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 455-467, May.
  2. Eric D. Gould & Victor Lavy & M. Daniele Paserman, 2004. "Does Immigration Affect the Long-Term Educational Outcomes of Natives? Quasi-Experimental Evidence," NBER Working Papers 10844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Andreas Ammermueller & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Peer effects in European primary schools: evidence from PIRLS," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25534, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Sandra E. Black & Paul Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2004. "Why the apple doesn't fall far: understanding intergenerational transmission of human capital," Working Paper Series 2004-12, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  5. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Scott E. Carrell & Richard L. Fullerton & James E. West, 2008. "Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. S Black & Paul Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2005. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Childrens Education," CEE Discussion Papers 0050, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  8. Victor Lavy & Analía Schlosser, 2007. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," NBER Working Papers 13292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2008. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 14475, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Victor Lavy & Olmo Silva & Felix Weinhardt, 2009. "The Good, the Bad and the Average: Evidence on the Scale and Nature of Ability Peer Effects in Schools," NBER Working Papers 15600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Kramarz, Francis & Machin, Stephen & Ouazad, Amine, 2008. "What Makes a Test Score? The Respective Contributions of Pupils, Schools, and Peers in Achievement in English Primary Education," IZA Discussion Papers 3866, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
  13. Elizabeth Cascio & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2007. "First in the Class? Age and the Education Production Function," NBER Working Papers 13663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
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