Academic peer effects with different group assignment policies : residential tracking versus random assignment
This paper studies the relative academic performance of students tracked or randomly assigned to South African university dormitories. Tracked or streamed assignment creates dormitories where all students obtained similar scores on high school graduation examinations. Random assignment creates dormitories that are approximately representative of the population of students. Tracking lowers students'mean grades in their first year of university and increases the variance or inequality of grades. This result is driven by a large negative effect of tracking on low-scoring students'grades and a near-zero effect on high-scoring students'grades. Low-scoring students are more sensitive to changes in their peer group composition and their grades suffer if they live only with low-scoring peers. In this setting, residential tracking has undesirable efficiency (lower mean) and equity (higher variance) effects. The result isolates a pure peer effect of tracking, whereas classroom tracking studies identify a combination of peer effects and differences in teacher behavior across tracked and untracked classrooms. The negative pure peer effect of residential tracking suggests that classroom tracking may also have negative effects unless teachers are more effective in homogeneous classrooms. Random variation in peer group composition under random dormitory assignment also generates peer effects. Living with higher-scoring peers increases students'grades and the effect is larger for low-scoring students. This is consistent with the aggregate effects of tracking relative to random assignment. However, using peer effects estimated in randomly assigned groups to predict outcomes in tracked groups yields unreliable predictions. This illustrates a more general risk that peer effects estimated under one peer group assignment policy provide limited information about how peer effects might work with a different peer group assignment policy.
|Date of creation:||01 Feb 2014|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433|
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Weili Ding & Steven F. Lehrer, 2007.
"Do Peers Affect Student Achievement in China's Secondary Schools?,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 300-312, May.
- Weili Ding & Steven Lehrer, 2005. "Do Peers Affect Student Achievement in China's Secondary Schools?," Working Papers 1047, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
- Weili Ding & Steven F. Lehrer, 2006. "Do Peers Affect Student Achievement in China's Secondary Schools?," NBER Working Papers 12305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
- Doug Miller & A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach, 2006. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," Working Papers 621, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
- A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2007. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," NBER Technical Working Papers 0344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Arnott, Richard & Rowse, John, 1987. "Peer group effects and educational attainment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 287-305, April.
- Richard Arnott & John Rowse, 1982. "Peer Group Effects and Educational Attainment," Working Papers 497, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
- Mary A. Burke & Tim R. Sass, 2013. "Classroom Peer Effects and Student Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 51-82.
- Mary A. Burke & Tim R. Sass, 2006. "Classroom Peer Effects and Student Achievement," Working Papers wp2006_02_02, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
- Mary A. Burke & Tim R. Sass, 2008. "Classroom peer effects and student achievement," Working Papers 08-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
- Mary A. Burke & Tim R. Sass, 2011. "Classroom peer effects and student achievement," Public Policy Discussion Paper 11-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
- 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.
- Angrist, Joshua & Lang, Kevin, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," IZA Discussion Papers 976, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Alberto Abadie, 2005. "Semiparametric Difference-in-Differences Estimators," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 1-19.
- Scott E. Carrell & Frederick V. Malmstrom & James E. West, 2008. "Peer Effects in Academic Cheating," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
- Cattaneo, Matias D., 2010. "Efficient semiparametric estimation of multi-valued treatment effects under ignorability," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 155(2), pages 138-154, April.
- Bhattacharya, Debopam, 2009. "Inferring Optimal Peer Assignment From Experimental Data," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 104(486), pages 486-500.
- Scott E. Carrell & Bruce I. Sacerdote & James E. West, 2013. "From Natural Variation to Optimal Policy? The Importance of Endogenous Peer Group Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(3), pages 855-882, 05.
- Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2014. "Can Variation in Subgroups' Average Treatment Effects Explain Treatment Effect Heterogeneity? Evidence from a Social Experiment," NBER Working Papers 20142, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
- Jane Cooley Fruehwirth, 2014. "Can Achievement Peer Effect Estimates Inform Policy? A View from Inside the Black Box," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(3), pages 514-523, July. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)