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Sorting and Statistical Discrimination in Schools

Anil Nathan ()

Atlantic Economic Journal, 2015, vol. 43, issue 2, 271-287

Abstract: The rigorous economic analysis of peer group formation is a burgeoning subject. Much has been written about how peers influence an individual’s behavior, and these effects are quite prevalent. However, less has been written on how exactly these peer groups begin and the resulting consequences of their formation. A reason for the dearth of knowledge on peer group formation is the lack of quality data sets that clearly define one’s peers. To resolve this issue, this paper explores data which allows a peer group to be defined openly through self nominations. Using these nominations as well as characteristics of the students and their friends, it is possible to see on what dimensions these individuals are sorting into friendships. The data suggests that there is heavy sorting within race and academic ability. Additionally, tests for statistical discrimination on race and academics show that it is exhibited towards blacks and Hispanics. There is also weak evidence of statistical discrimination against whites. Empirical analysis also shows that the degree of statistical discrimination decreases for blacks and Hispanics over a year. however, there is little change for whites over the same period. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2015

Keywords: National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health; Add Health; Friendship formation; Statistical discrimination; School redistribution; J15; I2 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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