Choice of Specialization: Do Peers Matter?
32 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2013 Last revised: 29 Apr 2015
Date Written: Decebmer 30, 2013
Social influence is an important factor in learning and decision making. We estimate peer influence on student choice of specialization using data on undergraduate students of a Russian university. Information about individual social ties has been gathered from a questionnaire survey. We show that specialization choice is significantly influenced by friends as well as by study partners. The strongest effect is produced by friends who are study partners and those who have similar academic achievements. Mutual friendship ties have a stronger influence on the choice than non-mutual ones. Also, the decision is affected by classmates with similar academic achievement. The results allow us to better understand the mechanisms of peer effects in the specialization choice.
Keywords: peer effects, higher education, student achievement, social networks
JEL Classification: I23, I24
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