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Bad Company: Understanding Negative Peer Effects in College Achievement

Author

Listed:
  • Ryan R. Brady

    () (United States Naval Academy)

  • Michael Insler

    () (United States Naval Academy)

  • Ahmed S. Rahman

    () (United States Naval Academy)

Abstract

Existing peer effects studies produce contradictory findings, including positive, negative, large, and small effects, despite similar contexts. We explore these results using U.S. Naval Academy data covering a 17-year history of the random assignment of students to peer groups. Coupled with students' limited dis- cretion over freshman-year courses, our setting affords an opportunity to better understand peer effects in different social contexts. We find negative effects at the broader "company" level--students' social and residential group--and positive effects at the narrower course-company level within small peer groups. We suggest that peer spillovers change direction because of differences in the underlying mechanism of peer in uence.

Suggested Citation

  • Ryan R. Brady & Michael Insler & Ahmed S. Rahman, 2016. "Bad Company: Understanding Negative Peer Effects in College Achievement," Departmental Working Papers 51, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:usn:usnawp:51
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fischer, Thomas & Rode, Johannes, 2020. "Classroom or pub - Where are persistent peer relationships between university students formed?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 474-493.
    2. Insler, Michael & McQuoid, Alexander F. & Rahman, Ahmed S. & Smith, Katherine, 2021. "Fear and Loathing in the Classroom: Why Does Teacher Quality Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 14036, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Griffith, Amanda L. & Main, Joyce B., 2019. "First impressions in the classroom: How do class characteristics affect student grades and majors?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 125-137.
    4. Candon Johnson & Robert Schultz & Joshua C. Hall, 2020. "Specialization and Performance: Evidence from NCAA 4 × 400 m Relay Times," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(4), pages 1-7, November.
    5. Emerson, Jamie & Hill, Brian, 2018. "Peer effects in marathon racing: The role of pace setters," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 74-82.
    6. de Gendre, Alexandra & Salamanca, Nicolás, 2020. "On the Mechanisms of Ability Peer Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 13938, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Brady, Ryan R. & Insler, Michael A., 2019. "Order of play advantage in sequential tournaments: Evidence from randomized settings in professional golf," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 79-92.
    8. Fang, Guanfu & Wan, Shan, 2020. "Peer effects among graduate students: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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