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Peer Effects

While researchers have been exploring the impact peers in educational settings can have on student outcomes ever since James Coleman conducted the seminal work of the relationship between various educational inputs and outcomes in 1966, many still debate whether these effects, known as “peer effects,” exist and whether they can be measured. When researchers analyze peer effects, it is often thought of as a “spillover effect” in which the behavior and academic abilities of students within the education process can affect the educational outcomes of their peers. Whether these peer effects actually manifest is a critical policy question because they could affect the success or failures of a number of policies, including school choice, economic and racial/ethnic desegregation, and tracking and detracking programs. For ...

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