No. 1048 - Heterogeneous peer effects in education

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by Eleonora Patacchini, Edoardo Rainone and Yves Zenou January 2016

We investigate whether, how, and why individual education attainment depends on the educational attainment of schoolmates. Specifically, using longitudinal data on students and their friends during the school years in a nationally representative set of US schools, we consider the impact of different types of peers on education outcomes. We find that there are strong and persistent peer effects in education, but peers tend to be influential in the long run only when their friendships last more than one year. This evidence is consistent with a network model where convergence of preferences and the emergence of social norms among peers require long-term interactions.