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Understanding Peer Effects: On the Nature, Estimation and Channels of Peer Effects

Jan Feld () and Ulf Zölitz

No 596, Working Papers in Economics from University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper estimates peer effects in a university context where students are randomly assigned to sections. While students benefit from better peers on average, low-achieving students are harmed by high-achieving peers. Analyzing students’ course evaluations suggests that peer effects are driven by improved group interaction rather than adjustments in teachers’ behavior or students' effort. We further show, building on Angrist (2014), that classical measurement error in a setting where group assignment is systematic can lead to substantial overestimation of peer effects. With random assignment, as is the case in our setting, estimates are only attenuated.

Keywords: Peer effects; higher education; estimation bias (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 I24 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 59 pages
Date: 2014-06, Revised 2015-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu and nep-ure
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Published as Feld, Jan and Ulf Zölitz, 'Understanding Peer Effects: On the Nature, Estimation and Channels of Peer Effects' in Journal of Labor Economics, 2017, pages 387-428.

Downloads: (external link)
https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/36036 (text/html)

Related works:
Journal Article: Understanding Peer Effects: On the Nature, Estimation, and Channels of Peer Effects (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Understanding peer effects - On the nature, estimation and channels of peer effects (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Understanding peer effects: on the nature, estimation and channels of peer effects (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Understanding Peer Effects: On the Nature, Estimation and Channels of Peer Effects (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Understanding Peer Effects: On the Nature, Estimation and Channels of Peer Effects (2015) Downloads
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