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Disruptive Peers in the Classroom and Students’ Academic Outcomes: Evidence and Mechanisms

Liqiu Zhao and Zhong Zhao ()

Labour Economics, 2021, vol. 68, issue C

Abstract: In this study, we estimate the negative spillovers of children from troubled families linked to alcoholic fathers, on the academic performance of other students in China. Specifically, we identify the causal effects of disruptive peers by exploiting the random assignment of students to classrooms and using within school-grade variation in the proportion of children from families with alcoholic fathers in junior secondary schools. Our results show that children from families with alcoholic fathers significantly decrease the test scores of their peers. An examination of the underlying mechanisms suggests that disruptive peers increase misbehavior in the classroom. Moreover, a higher proportion of disruptive students in a class decreases peers’ time spent on homework assigned by teachers, implying that disruptive peers may impact teachers’ pedagogical practices and impede the learning of their peers.

Keywords: peer effect; disruptive peer; academic outcome; alcoholism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D62 I21 J12 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2020.101954

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