Do Peers Affect Student Achievement? Evidence from Canada Using Group Size Variation

37 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2010

See all articles by Vincent Boucher

Vincent Boucher

Université Laval

Yann Bramoulle

Université Laval - Département d'Économique

Habiba Djebbari

Université Laval - Département d'Économique; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Bernard Fortin

Université Laval - Département d'Économique; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Abstract

We provide the first empirical application of a new approach proposed by Lee (2007) to estimate peer effects in a linear-in-means model. This approach allows to control for group-level unobservables and to solve the reflection problem. We investigate peer effects in student achievement in Mathematics, Science, French and History in Quebec secondary schools. We estimate the model using maximum likelihood and instrumental variables methods. We find evidence of peer effects. The endogenous peer effect is positive, when significant, and some contextual peer effects matter. Using calibrated Monte Carlo simulations, we find that high dispersion in group sizes helps with potential issues of weak identification.

Keywords: reflection problem, student achievement, peer effects

JEL Classification: C31, I20, Z13

Suggested Citation

Boucher, Vincent and Bramoulle, Yann and Djebbari, Habiba and Fortin, Bernard, Do Peers Affect Student Achievement? Evidence from Canada Using Group Size Variation. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4723. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1545150

Vincent Boucher

Université Laval ( email )

2214 Pavillon J-A. DeSeve
Quebec, Quebec G1K 7P4
Canada

Yann Bramoulle

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada

Habiba Djebbari

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Bernard Fortin

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada
418-656-5678 (Phone)
418-656-7798 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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