The Impact of Peer Personality on Academic Achievement

University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 269

37 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2017  

Bart Golsteyn

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)

Arjan Non

Maastricht University

Ulf Zölitz

University of Zurich; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: November 2017

Abstract

This paper provides evidence of a novel facet of peer effects by showing how peer personality affects educational achievement. We exploit random assignment of students to university sections and find that students perform better in the presence of more persistent peers and more risk-averse peers. In particular, low-persistence students benefit from highly-persistent peers without devoting additional efforts to studying. However, highly-persistent students are not affected by the persistence of their peers. The personality peer effects that we document are distinct from other observable peer characteristics and suggest that the personality traits of peers causally affect human capital accumulation.

Keywords: personality, peer effects, non-cognitive skills

JEL Classification: I21, I24, J24

Suggested Citation

Golsteyn, Bart and Non, Arjan and Zölitz, Ulf, The Impact of Peer Personality on Academic Achievement (November 2017). University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 269. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3071696 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3071696

Bart Golsteyn (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, MD6200
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

Arjan Non

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

Ulf Zölitz

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

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