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Does joining social media groups help to reduce students’ dropout within the first university year?

Lucio Masserini and Matilde Bini

Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 2021, vol. 73, issue C

Abstract: Using observational data, the aim of our study paper was to investigate whether university students’ dropout within the first year is influenced by participation in social media groups such as Facebook pages created and run by other students. Specifically, in this paper such participation is considered as a treatment and represents a means to help promote and strengthen social relationships amongst students but also to help share information on courses and other material useful for studying and preparing for exams. For this purpose, data from a sample survey of students enrolled in a major Italian university were used. Given a non-random treatment assignment, analysis was carried out using propensity score matching (PSM) in order to correct for selection bias due to a set of observable pretreatment covariates. Several matching techniques and sensitivity analyses suggested that the results were robust for estimating an average treatment effect on the treated group. The estimated effect indicated that participation in social media groups is effective for lowering the dropout rate.

Keywords: First year students' dropout; Selection bias; Propensity score matching; Social networks; Average treatment effect (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.seps.2020.100865

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