Does Whom You Know Matter? Unraveling the Influence of Peers' Network Attributes on Academic Performance

21 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2018

See all articles by Tarun Jain

Tarun Jain

Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad

Nishtha Langer

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

This paper examines how students' network size, distance, prestige, and connections to influential individuals impact academic performance. Larger and closer networks facilitate information exchange, but may also increase distractions that decrease productivity. We resolve this ambiguity using administrative data from a business school that features random assignment of students to multiple overlapping sets of peers, allowing us to calculate degree, closeness, eigenvector, and Katz‐Bonacich centrality for each node. We find that increasing closeness centrality within the network negatively affects student performance measured by grade point average, suggesting that synergy reduction and information processing costs outweigh benefits from greater information access.

JEL Classification: I23, L14, L23

Suggested Citation

Jain, Tarun and Langer, Nishtha, Does Whom You Know Matter? Unraveling the Influence of Peers' Network Attributes on Academic Performance (January 2019). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 57, Issue 1, pp. 141-161, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3295898 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12724

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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