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

Petra Thiemann

No 11024, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: This paper demonstrates that short-term peer exposure can generate achievement effects which persist for several months and years. I study a mandatory freshmen week for first-year undergraduates and exploit the random assignment of students to freshmen teams. I find that the freshmen week contributes to the formation of persistent social ties. Furthermore, peers' observable characteristics impact college achievement for up to three years. Ability peer effects are non-linear, i.e. very high or low levels of average peer ability in a group harm students' grades. These effects are most pronounced for low-ability students.

Keywords: peer effects; higher education; natural experiment; gender; region of origin; ability (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: 2017-09
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