Peer Effects – Abstract
Posted by The Situationist Staff on May 20, 2008
Robert MacCoun, Philip Cook, Clara Muschkin, and Jacob Vigdor have posted their paper, “Distinguishing Spurious and Real Peer Effects: Evidence from Artificial Societies, Small-Group Experiments, and Real Schoolyards,” on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.
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In a variety of important domains, there is considerable correlational evidence suggestive of what are variously referred to as social norm effects, contagion effects, information cascades, or peer effects. It is difficult to statistically identify whether such effects are causal, and there are various non-causal mechanisms that can produce such apparent norm effects. Lab experiments demonstrate that real peer effects occur, but also that apparent cascade or peer effects can be spurious. A curious feature of American local school configuration policy provides an opportunity to identify true peer influences among adolescents. Some school districts send 6th graders to middle school (e.g., 6th-8th grade “junior high”); others retain 6th graders for one additional year in K-6 elementary schools. Using administrative data on public school students in North Carolina, we have found that sixth grade students attending middle schools are much more likely to be cited for discipline problems than those attending elementary school, and the effects appear to persist at least through ninth grade. A plausible explanation is that these effects occur because sixth graders in middle schools are suddenly exposed to two cohorts of older, more delinquent peers.
This entry was posted on May 20, 2008 at 8:48 pm and is filed under Abstracts, Education. Tagged: cascade effects, Norms, peer effects, social influence. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.