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The influence of peer institutions on colleges’ decisions: Evidence from fall 2020 reopening plans

Riley Acton (), Emily Cook () and Allison Luedtke ()

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2022, vol. 195, issue C, 288-302

Abstract: We study how colleges and universities influence each other’s behavior in the context of fall reopening plans during the COVID-19 pandemic. By leveraging high-frequency data on colleges’ reopening announcements and using a fixed-effects model to control for unobserved factors at the college and state-day levels, we provide evidence that colleges respond strongly to prior decisions made by their peer institutions. A 10 percentage point (pp) increase in the share of one’s peers who have announced an in-person plan —roughly equivalent to 2 additional peers announcing in-person plans —increases the probability of doing so by 2.5pp. An equivalent increase in the share of one’s peers who have announced an online decision increases the probability of doing so by 4.0pp. These effects are robust to a variety of specifications and definitions of peer institutions.

Keywords: Higher education; Peer institutions; COVID-19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H4 I2 L3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:195:y:2022:i:c:p:288-302

DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2022.01.016

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Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

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