Peers' Composition Effects in the Short and in the Long Run: College Major, College Performance and Income

51 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2015

See all articles by Massimo Anelli

Massimo Anelli

Bocconi University; CESifo; IZA; Bocconi University - DONDENA - Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics; Fondazione Rodolfo DeBenedetti

Giovanni Peri

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Abstract

In this paper we use a newly constructed dataset following 30,000 Italian individuals from high school to labor market and we analyze whether the gender composition of peers in high school affected their choice of college major, their academic performance and their labor market income. We leverage the fact that the composition of high school classmates (peers), within school-cohort and teacher-group, was not chosen by the students and it was as good as random.We find that male students graduating from classes with at least 80% of male peers were more likely to choose "prevalently male" (PM) college majors (Economics, Business and Engineering). However, this higher propensity to enroll in PM majors faded away during college (through transfers and attrition) so that men from classes with at least 80% of male peers in high school did not have higher probability of graduating in PM majors. They had instead worse college performance and did not exhibit any difference in income or labor market outcomes after college. We do not find significant effects on women.

Keywords: peer effects, high school, gender, choice of college major, academic performance, wages

JEL Classification: I21, J16, J24, J31, Z13

Suggested Citation

Anelli, Massimo and Peri, Giovanni, Peers' Composition Effects in the Short and in the Long Run: College Major, College Performance and Income. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9119. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2655068

Massimo Anelli (Contact Author)

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

CESifo ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Bocconi University - DONDENA - Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Fondazione Rodolfo DeBenedetti ( email )

Via Roentgen 1,
Room 5.C1-11
Milan, Milano 20136
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.frdb.org

Giovanni Peri

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States
530-752-3033 (Phone)
530-752-9382 (Fax)

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