Advertisement

Demography

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 745–773 | Cite as

Differential Peer Effects, Student Achievement, and Student Absenteeism: Evidence From a Large-Scale Randomized Experiment

  • Ozkan ErenEmail author
Article

Abstract

Using data from a well-executed randomized experiment, I examine the effects of gender composition and peer achievement on high school students’ outcomes in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Results show that having a higher proportion of female peers in the classroom improves girls’ math test scores only in less-advanced courses. For male students, the estimated gender peer effects are positive but less precisely estimated. I also find no effect of average classroom achievement on female math test scores. Males, on the other hand, seem to benefit from a higher-achieving classroom. I propose mechanisms relating to lower gender stereotype influences and gender-specific attitudes toward competition as potential explanations for peer effects findings. Finally, having a higher proportion of female students in the classroom decreases student absenteeism among male students but has no impact on female attendance.

Keywords

Peer effects Instrumental variables Randomized experiment Teach for America Power calculations 

Supplementary material

13524_2017_552_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (124 kb)
Online Resource 1 (PDF 123 kb)
13524_2017_552_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (25 kb)
Online Resource 2 (PDF 25 kb)

References

  1. Anderson, M. D. (2012). In school and out of trouble? The minimum dropout age and juvenile crime. Review of Economics and Statistics, 96, 318–331.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, M. L. (2008). Multiple inference and gender differences in the effects of early intervention: A reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training projects. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 103, 1481–1495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Antecol, H., Eren, O., & Ozbeklik, S. (2016). Peer effects in disadvantaged primary schools: Evidence from a randomized experiment. Journal of Human Resources, 51, 95–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arcidiacono, P., & Nicholson, S. (2005). Peer effects in medical school. Journal of Public Economics, 89, 327–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berthelon, M. E., & Kruger, D. I. (2011). Risky behavior among youth: Incapacitation effects of school on adolescent motherhood and crime in Chile. Journal of Public Economics, 95, 41–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Betts, J. R., & Zau, A. (2004). Peer groups and academic achievement: Panel evidence from administrative data. Unpublished manuscript, University of California, San Diego, CA, and Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, CA.Google Scholar
  7. Bifulco, R., Fletcher, J. M., Oh, S. J., & Ross, S. L. (2014). Do high school peers have persistent effects on college attainment and other life outcomes? Labour Economics, 29, 83–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bifulco, R., Fletcher, J. M., & Ross, S. L. (2011). The effect of classmate characteristics on post-secondary outcomes: Evidence from the Add Health. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 3(1), 25–53.Google Scholar
  9. Black, S. E., Devereux, P. J., & Salvanes, K. G. (2013). Under pressure? The effect of peers on outcomes of young adults. Journal of Labor Economics, 31, 119–153.Google Scholar
  10. Blakemore, S. J., & Choudhury, S. (2006). Development of the adolescent brain: Implications for executive function and social cognition. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 296–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brown, B. B., Clasen, D. R., & Eicher, S. A. (1986). Perceptions of peer pressure, peer conformity dispositions, and self-reported behavior among adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 22, 521–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burke, M. A., & Sass, T. R. (2013). Classroom peer effects and student achievement. Journal of Labor Economics, 31, 51–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carrell, S. E., Fullerton, R. L., & West, J. E. (2009). Does your cohort matter? Measuring peer effects in college achievement. Journal of Labor Economics, 27, 439–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carell, S. E., Sacerdote, B. I., & West, J. E. (2013). From natural variation to optimal policy? The importance of endogenous peer group formation. Econometrica, 81, 855–882.Google Scholar
  15. Chandler, M. A. (2011, September 22). Single-sex education may do more harm than good. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/study-single-sex-education-may-do-more-harm-than-good/2011/09/22/gIQABAQOoK_story.html?utm_term=.04abcd6321da
  16. Clark, M. A., Chiang, H. S., Silva, T., McConnell, S., Sonnenfeld, K., & Erbe, A. (2013). The effectiveness of secondary math teachers from Teach for America and the Teaching Fellows programs (NCEE Report No. 2013–4015). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.Google Scholar
  17. Doris, A., O’Neill, D., & Sweetman, O. (2013). Gender, single-sex schooling and maths achievement. Economics of Education Review, 35, 104–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Falk, A., & Ichino, A. (2006). Clear evidence on peer effects. Journal of Labor Economics, 24, 39–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Foster, G. (2006). It’s not your peers, and it’s not your friends: Some progress toward understanding the educational peer effect mechanism. Journal of Public Economics, 90, 1455–1475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gneezy, U., Niederle, M., & Rustichini, A. (2003). Performance in competitive environments: Gender differences. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118, 1049–1074.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Graham, B. S. (2008). Identifying social interactions through conditional variance restrictions. Econometrica, 76, 643–660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Guryan, J., Kroft, K., & Notowidigdo, M. J. (2009). Peer effects in the workplace: Evidence from random groupings in professional golf tournaments. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 1(4), 34–68.Google Scholar
  23. Hanushek, E. A. (2011). The economic value of higher teacher quality. Economics of Education Review, 30, 466–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hanushek, E. A., Kain, J. F., Markman, J. M., & Rivkin, S. G. (2003). Does peer ability affect student achievement? Journal of Applied Econometrics, 18, 527–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hoxby, C. M. (2000). Peer effects in the classroom: Learning from gender and race variation (NBER Working Paper No. 7867). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  26. Hoxby, C. M., & Weingarth, G. (2005). Taking race out of the equation: School reassignment and the structure of peer effects. Unpublished manuscript. Retrieved from https://www.pausd.org/sites/default/files/pdf-faqs/attachments/TakingRaceOutOfTheEquation.pdf
  27. Imberman, S. A., Kugler, A. D., & Sacerdote, B. I. (2012). Katrina’s children: Evidence on the structure of peer effects from hurricane evacuees. American Economic Review, 102, 2048–2082.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jackson, K. C. (2012). Single-sex schools, student achievement, and course selection: Evidence from rule-based student assignments in Trinidad and Tobago. Journal of Public Economics, 96, 173–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jacob, B. A., & Lefgren, L. (2003). Are idle hands the devil’s workshop? Incapacitation, concentration, and juvenile crime. American Economic Review, 93, 1560–1577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Langdon, D., McKittrick, G., Beede, D., Khan, B., & Doms, M. (2011). STEM: Good jobs now and for the future (ESA Issue Brief No. 03–11). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce.Google Scholar
  31. Lavy, V., & Schlosser, A. (2011). Mechanisms and impacts of gender peer effects at school. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 3(2), 1–33.Google Scholar
  32. Lu, F., & Anderson, M. L. (2015). Peer effects in microenvironments: The benefits of homogeneous classroom groups. Journal of Labor Economics, 33, 91–122.Google Scholar
  33. Luallen, J. (2006). School’s out… forever: A study of juvenile crime, at-risk youths and teacher strikes. Journal of Urban Economics, 59, 75–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lyle, D. S. (2007). Estimating and interpreting peer and role model effects from randomly assigned social groups at West Point. Review of Economics and Statistics, 89, 289–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Manski, C. F. (1993). Identification of endogenous social effects: The reflection problem. Review of Economic Studies, 60, 531–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mas, A., & Moretti, E. (2009). Peers at work. American Economic Review, 99, 112–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McCrary, J., & Royer, H. (2011). The effect of female education on fertility and infant health: Evidence from school entry policies using exact date of birth. American Economic Review, 101, 158–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Moffitt, R. A. (2001). Policy interventions, low-level equilibria, and social interactions. In S. N. Durlauf & H. P. Young (Eds.), Social dynamics (pp. 45–82). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  39. Niederle, M., & Vesterlund, L. (2010). Explaining the gender gap in math test scores: The role of competition. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(2), 129–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Park, H., Behrman, J. R., & Choi, J. (2013). Causal effects of single-sex schools on college entrance exams and college attendance: Random assignment in Seoul high schools. Demography, 50, 447–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pope, D. G., & Sydnor, J. R. (2010). Geographic variation in the gender differences in test scores. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(2), 95–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sacerdote, B. I. (2001). Peer effects with random assignment: Results for Dartmouth roommates. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 116, 681–704.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sacerdote, B. I. (2011). Peer effects in education: How might they work, how big are they and how much do we know thus far? In E. Hanushek, S. Machin, & L. Woessmann (Eds.), Handbook of the economics of education (Vol. 3, pp. 249–277). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  44. Schemo, D. J. (2006, October 25). Federal rules back single-sex public education. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/25/education/25gender.html
  45. Sojourner, A. (2013). Identification of peer effects with missing peer data: Evidence from Project STAR. Economic Journal, 123, 574–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Spencer, S. J., Steele, C. M., & Quinn, D. M. (1999). Stereotype threat and women’s math performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35, 4–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stinebrickner, R., & Stinebrickner, T. 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, 90, 1435–1454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sullivan, A., Joshi, H., & Leonard, D. (2012). Single-sex and coeducational secondary schooling: What are the social and family outcomes in the short and longer term? Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 3, 137–156.Google Scholar
  49. Vigdor, J. L., & Nechyba, T. (2007). Peer effects in North Carolina public schools. In L. Woessmann & P. E. Peterson (Eds.), Schools and the equal opportunity problem (pp. 73–102). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  50. Whitmore, D. (2005). Resource and peer impacts on girls’ academic achievement: Evidence from a randomized experiment. American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, 95, 199–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zimmerman, D. J. (2003). Peer effects in academic outcomes: Evidence from a natural experiment. Review of Economics and Statistics, 85, 9–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.E. J. Ourso College of Business, Department of EconomicsLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

Personalised recommendations