Centrality-Based Spillover Effects

58 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2021

See all articles by Asad Islam

Asad Islam

Monash University

Michael Vlassopoulos

University of Southampton

Yves Zenou

Stockholm University; Monash University - Department of Economics; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Xin Zhang

Monash University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2021


We study the role of social network structure in peer-to-peer educational spillovers by leveraging a two-year field experiment in primary schools in rural Bangladesh. We implement a randomized educational intervention-the provision of free after-school tutoring-offered to a random subsample of students in treatment schools. We exploit the experimentally induced across-classroom variation in the centrality of treated students to provide the first causal evidence of centrality-based spillover effects. We find that a one standard deviation (SD) increase in the average centrality of treated students within a classroom leads to improvements in the test scores of their untreated classmates of 0.57 SD in English and 0.62 SD in math. Further evidence indicates that more central students have higher academic ability, better social skills, and interact more with classmates on matters related to learning, which suggests that they can be more influential for their peers. In addition, we offer the private tutoring intervention to the most central students on a separate group of schools. We find that this targeted approach provides larger educational benefits both for treated and untreated students than the policy that treats a random subset of students. We conclude that targeting the most central students in a network to offer an intervention can be a cost-effective way to improve the educational outcomes of all students in a classroom.

JEL Classification: I21, O15, Z13

Suggested Citation

Islam, Asadul and Vlassopoulos, Michael and Zenou, Yves and Zenou, Yves and Zhang, Xin, Centrality-Based Spillover Effects (July 2021). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP16321, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3886807

Asadul Islam (Contact Author)

Monash University ( email )

Centre for Dev Economics and Sustainability (CDES)
Monash University
Caulfield East, Victoria
0403642405 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://users.monash.edu/~asaduli/

Michael Vlassopoulos

University of Southampton ( email )

University Rd.
Southampton SO17 1BJ, Hampshire SO17 1LP
United Kingdom

Yves Zenou

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )


Stockholm University ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI) ( email )

P.O. Box 5501
S-114 85 Stockholm

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

Xin Zhang

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

0452220939 (Phone)

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