The Effect of Classmate Characteristics on Individual Outcomes: Evidence from the Add Health

44 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2008 Last revised: 13 Mar 2010

See all articles by Robert Bifulco

Robert Bifulco

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research

Jason M. Fletcher

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs; Yale University - School of Public Health

Stephen L. Ross

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 1, 2008

Abstract

We use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to examine the effects of classmate characteristics on economic and social outcomes of students. The unique structure of the Add Health allows us to estimate these effects using comparisons across cohorts within schools, and to examine a wider range of outcomes than other studies that have used this identification strategy.

We find that increases in the percent of classmates whose mother is college educated has significant, desirable effects on educational attainment and substance use. We do not find much evidence that the percent of classmates who are black or Hispanic has negative effects on individual outcomes, on average, but increases in the percent black or Hispanic does increase drop out rates among black students.

Keywords: Education, Peer Effects, Cohort Study, Substance Abuse

JEL Classification: I21, I19, J13, J15

Suggested Citation

Bifulco, Robert and Fletcher, Jason M. and Ross, Stephen L., The Effect of Classmate Characteristics on Individual Outcomes: Evidence from the Add Health (August 1, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1259570 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1259570

Robert Bifulco

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244
United States

Jason M. Fletcher (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States

Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )

PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States

Stephen L. Ross

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics ( email )

365 Fairfield Way, U-1063
Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

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