Academic Peer Effects with Different Group Assignment Policies: Residential Tracking versus Random Assignment
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2018, vol. 10, issue 3, 345-69
I study the relative academic performance of students tracked or randomly assigned to South African university dormitories. Tracking reduces low-scoring students' GPAs and has little effect on high-scoring students, leading to lower and more dispersed GPAs. I also directly estimate peer effects using random variation in peer groups across dormitories. Living with higher-scoring peers raises students' GPAs, particularly for low-scoring students, and peer effects are stronger between socially proximate students. This shows that much of the treatment effect of tracking is attributable to peer effects. These results present a cautionary note about sorting students into academically homogeneous classrooms or neighborhoods.
JEL-codes: I23 I24 I28 O15 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20160626
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Working Paper: Academic peer effects with different group assignment policies: residential tracking versus random assignment (2014)
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