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Peer heterogeneity, school tracking and students’ performances: evidence from PISA 2006

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Abstract:

This paper analyses the interaction between school-tracking policies and peer effects in OECD countries. Using the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2006 data set, we show that linear peer effects are slightly concave-shaped in both early-tracking and comprehensive educational systems, but generally stronger in the early-tracking one. Second, and more interestingly, the effect of peer heterogeneity goes in opposite directions in the two systems. In both student- and school-level estimates, peer heterogeneity reduces students’ achievements in the comprehensive system while it has a positive impact in the early-tracking one. This reversal effect is robust to different definitions of early-tracking system, to the inclusion of pseudo-school fixed effects and to the exclusion of outlier countries. Finally, peer effects are stronger for low-ability students in both groups of countries.

Keywords: I21; I28; J24; educational production function; peer effects; peer heterogeneity; schooling tracking

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2013.791020

Affiliations: 1: Sapienza University of Rome, Via del Castro Laurenziano 9, 00161, Rome, Italy 2: OFCE, Nice, France

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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