Cool to be Smart or Smart to be Cool? Understanding Peer Pressure in Education

Cool to be Smart or Smart to be Cool? Understanding Peer Pressure in Education Abstract We model and test two school-based peer cultures: one that stigmatizes effort and one that rewards ability. The model shows that either may reduce participation in educational activities when peers can observe participation and performance. We design a field experiment that allows us to test for, and differentiate between, these two concerns. We find that peer pressure reduces takeup of an SAT prep package virtually identically across two very different high school settings. However, the effects arise from very distinct mechanisms: a desire to hide effort in one setting and a desire to hide low ability in the other. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Review of Economic Studies Limited. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Review of Economic Studies Oxford University Press

Cool to be Smart or Smart to be Cool? Understanding Peer Pressure in Education

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Review of Economic Studies Limited.
ISSN
0034-6527
eISSN
1467-937X
D.O.I.
10.1093/restud/rdy026
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract We model and test two school-based peer cultures: one that stigmatizes effort and one that rewards ability. The model shows that either may reduce participation in educational activities when peers can observe participation and performance. We design a field experiment that allows us to test for, and differentiate between, these two concerns. We find that peer pressure reduces takeup of an SAT prep package virtually identically across two very different high school settings. However, the effects arise from very distinct mechanisms: a desire to hide effort in one setting and a desire to hide low ability in the other. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Review of Economic Studies Limited. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)

Journal

The Review of Economic StudiesOxford University Press

Published: May 25, 2018

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