Does Who You Know Matter? Unraveling the Influence of Student Networks on Academic Performance

39 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2014 Last revised: 16 Oct 2016

See all articles by Tarun Jain

Tarun Jain

Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad

Nishtha Langer

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Date Written: September 19, 2016

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of students' network size, distance, prestige and connections to influential individuals on academic performance. Larger and closer networks facilitate information exchange, but may also increase distractions that decrease productivity. To resolve this ambiguity, we use administrative data from a business school setting that features both randomly assignment of students to multiple overlapping sets of peers, allowing us to calculate degree, closeness, eigenvector and Katz-Bonacich centrality for each node, as well as a cleanly defined measure of academic achievement. We find that increasing eigenvector centrality within the network has a negative effect on student performance as measured by grade point average, suggesting that synergy reduction and information processing costs outweigh benefits from greater information access.

Keywords: Peer effects, Social networks, Management education, India

JEL Classification: I23, L14, L23

Suggested Citation

Jain, Tarun and Langer, Nishtha, Does Who You Know Matter? Unraveling the Influence of Student Networks on Academic Performance (September 19, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2425477 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2425477

Tarun Jain (Contact Author)

Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad ( email )

Nishtha Langer

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ( email )

110 8th St
Lally School of Management
Troy, NY 12180
United States
+15182764414 (Phone)

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