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Can Achievement Peer Effect Estimates Inform Policy? A View from inside the Black Box

Citation

Fruehwirth, Jane Cooley (2014). Can Achievement Peer Effect Estimates Inform Policy? A View from inside the Black Box. Review of Economics and Statistics, 96(3), 514-523.

Abstract

Empirical studies of peer effects rely on the assumption that peer spillovers can be measured through observables. However, in the education context, many theories of peer spillovers center around unobservables, such as ability, effort, or motivation. I show that when peer effects arise from unobservables, the typical empirical specifications will not measure these effects accurately, which may help explain differences in the magnitude and even sign of peer effect estimates across studies. I also show that under reasonable assumptions, these estimates cannot be applied to determine the effects of regrouping students, a central motivation of the literature.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/REST_a_00385

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2014

Journal Title

Review of Economics and Statistics

Author(s)

Fruehwirth, Jane Cooley

ORCiD

Fruehwirth - 0000-0001-5018-1143