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The Persistent Effects of Short-Term Peer Groups in Higher Education

Petra Thiemann
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Petra Thiemann: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

No 2018:32, Working Papers from Lund University, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper studies the persistent effects of short-term peer exposure in a college setting. I exploit the random assignment of undergraduates to peer groups during a mandatory orientation week and follow the students until graduation. High levels of peer ability in a group harm the students’ test scores and lead to increases in the probability of early dropout; this result is driven by the adverse effect of high-ability peers on low-ability students. I find suggestive evidence for discouragement effects: Peer ability is negatively correlated with the students’ confidence in their academic ability after the first week.

Keywords: peer effect; higher education; natural experiment; ability; educational attainment; dropout; major choice (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 I23 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu and nep-ure
Date: 2018-11-14
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2018_032

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