Does Peer Ability Affect Student Achievement?

36 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2001 Last revised: 24 Oct 2010

See all articles by Eric A. Hanushek

Eric A. Hanushek

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

John F. Kain

University of Texas at Dallas - Cecil and Ida Green Center for the Study of Science and Society

Jacob M. Markman

Amherst College

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2001

Abstract

Empirical analysis of peer effects on student achievement has been open to question because of the difficulties of separating peer effects from other confounding influences. While most econometric attention has been directed at issues of simultaneous determination of peer interactions, we argue that issues of omitted and mismeasured variables are likely to be more important. We control for the most important determinants of achievement that will confound peer estimates by removing student and school-by-grade fixed effects in addition to observable family and school characteristics. The analysis also addresses the reciprocal nature of peer interactions and the interpretation of estimates based upon models using past achievement as the measure of peer group quality. The results indicate that peer achievement has a positive effect on achievement growth. Moreover, students throughout the school test score distribution appear to benefit from higher achieving schoolmates. On the other hand, the variance in achievement appears to have no systematic effect.

Suggested Citation

Hanushek, Eric A. and Kain, John F. and Markman, Jacob M. and Rivkin, Steven G., Does Peer Ability Affect Student Achievement? (October 2001). NBER Working Paper No. w8502. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=285625

Eric A. Hanushek (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
650-736-0942 (Phone)
650-723-1687 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Germany

John F. Kain

University of Texas at Dallas - Cecil and Ida Green Center for the Study of Science and Society ( email )

Mail Station GC21
Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083-0688
United States
(972) 883-2555 (Phone)
(972) 883-2551 (Fax)

Jacob M. Markman

Amherst College

Department of Economics
Amherst, MA 01002
United States

Steven G. Rivkin

Amherst College - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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