Quality & Quantity

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 615–631 | Cite as

The analysis of students’ academic achievement: the evaluation of peer effects through relational links

  • Simone Celant


In literature, the analysis of the influence of the environmental context on individual choices and behaviors, with particular reference to areas related to school and academic education, is usually performed through the methodology of peer effects. In this study, after presenting a brief overview on this approach, we propose a procedure for the analysis of the dependence of students’ academic performances on the contextual effects, determined by the sociometric ties observed between them, and by the subsequent division of the network into groups, using the linear-in-mean model for social interactions. This procedure is then applied to real data, collected in a second level degree course of the university of Rome Tor Vergata, for the construction of some models on student academic achievement. Empirical evidence suggests that peer effects are a significant determinant of performance, and that they identify explanatory aspects of individual achievement, that usual regressors are not able to catch.


Internal effectiveness Student achievement Peer effects Social networks 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baltagi B.H.: A companion to theoretical econometrics. Blackwell Publishing, Malden (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bramoullé Y., Djebbari H., Fortin B.: Identification of peer effects through social networks. J. Econ. 150, 41–55 (2009)Google Scholar
  3. Bratti M., McKnight A., Naylor R., Smith J.: Higher education outcomes, graduate employment and university performance indicators. J. Royal Stat. Soc.: Series A 167(3), 475–496 (2004)Google Scholar
  4. Calvo-Armengol A., Patacchini E., Zenou Y.: Peer effects and social network in education. Rev. Econ. Stud. 76, 1239–1267 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cohen-Cole E., Fletcher J.M.: Is obesity contagious? Social networks vs. environmental factors in the obesity epidemic. J. Health Econ. 27, 1382–1387 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Duncan G.J., Boisjoly J., Kremer M., Levy D.M., Eccles J.: Peer effects in drug use and sex among college students. J. Abnormal Child Psychol. 33(3), 375–385 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Eggens L., van der Werf M.P.C., Bosker R.J.: The influence of personal networks and social support on study attainment of students in university education. High. Educ. 55, 553–573 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Friesen J., Krauth B.: Sorting and inequality in Canadian schools. J. Public Econ. 91, 2185–2212 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gleaser E., Sacerdote B., Scheinkman J.: Crime and social interactions. Q. J. Econ 111(2), 507–548 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Graham B.S., Hahn J.: Identification and estimation of the linear-in-means model of social interactions. Econ. Lett. 88(1), 1–6 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Grilli L., Rampichini C.: Multilevel models for the evaluation of educational institutions: a review. In: Bini, D., Monari, M., Piccolo, D., Salmaso, L. (eds) Statistical methods and models for the evaluation of educational services and product’s quality, Springer, Berlin and Heidelberg (2009)Google Scholar
  12. Hanushek E.A., Kain J.F., Markman J.M., Rivkin S.G.: Does peer ability affect atudent achievement?. J. Appl. Econom. 18, 527–544 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. ISTAT: Orientarsi con la Statistica: Università e Lavoro 2009 [Electronic Version], retrieved April 24, 2010, from (2009)
  14. Jansen E.P.W.A.: The influence of curriculum organization on study progress in higher education. High. Educ. 47(4), 411–435 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lee L.: Identification and estimation of spatial econometric models with group interactions, contextual factors and fixed effects. J. Econom. 140(2), 333–374 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lin, X.: Peer effects and student academic achievement: an pplication of spatial autoregressive model with group unobservables, Retrieved on line on November 8, 2010 from (2007)
  17. Lundborg P.: Having the wrong friends? Peer effects in adolescent substance use. J. Health Econ. 25, 214–233 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Manski C.F.: Identification of endogenous social effects: the reflection problem. Rev. Econ. Stud. 60(3), 531–542 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Marmaros D., Sacerdote B.: Peer andsocial networks in job search. Eur. Econ. Rev. 46, 870–879 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McEwan P.J.: Peer effects on student achievement: evidence from Chile. Econ. Educ. Rev. 22, 131–141 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mora T., Escardibul J.O.: Schooling effects on undergraduate performance: evidence from the University of Barcelona. High. Educ. 56, 519–532 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Patacchini E., Zenou Y.: The strength of weak ties in crime. Eur. Econ. Rev. 52, 209–236 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sacerdote B.: Peer effects with random assignment: results for Dartmouth roommates. Q. J. Econ 116(2), 681–704 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schneeweis N., Winter-Ebmer R.: Peer effects in Austrian schools. Empir. Econ. 32, 387–409 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Stinebrickner R., Stinebrickner T.R.: What can be learned about peer effects using college roommates? Evidence from new survey data and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. J. Public Econ. 90, 1435–1454 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sund K.: Estimating peer effects in Swedish high school using school, teacher, and student fixed effects. Econ. Educ. Review 28, 329–336 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Trogdon J.G., Nonnemaker J., Winter-Ebmer R.: Peer effects in adolescent overweight. J. Health Econ. 27(5), 1388–1399 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wasserman S., Faust K.: Social network analysis: methods and applications. Cambridge University Press, New York (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Xie Y., Ke F., Sharma P.: The effect of peer feedback for blogging on college students’ reflective learning processes. Internet High. Educ. 11, 18–25 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Rome Tor VergataRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations