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Under pressure? The effect of peers on outcomes of young adults

  • Sandra E. Black
  • Paul J. Devereux
  • Kjell G. Salvanes

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, post-compulsory 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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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/2651
File Function: First version, 2010
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Paper provided by School of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201016.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201016
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  1. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 7580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. 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.
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  8. Paul J. Devereux & Sandra E. Black & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "Why the apple doesn't fall far : understanding intergenerational transmission of human capital," Open Access publications 10197/309, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  9. 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).
  10. Paul J. Devereux & Sandra E. Black & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2008. "Too young to leave the nest? The effects of school starting age," Open Access publications 10197/737, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  11. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Children's Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 669-700.
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