Peer Effects in Higher Education: Does the Field of Study Matter?
Posted: 19 May 2009
Date Written: May 12, 2009
Does the peer effect vary with the field of study? Using data from a middle-sized public university located in Southern Italy and exploiting the random assignment of first year students to college accommodation, we find that roommate peer effects for freshmen enrolled in the Hard Sciences are positive and significantly larger than for freshmen enrolled in the Humanities and Social Sciences. We present a simple theoretical model which suggests that the uncovered differences between fields in the size of the peer effect could plausibly be generated by between-field variation in labor market returns, which affect optimal student effort.
Keywords: peer effects, effort, fields of study, random assignment, Italy
JEL Classification: I21, Z13, J24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation