Cover: Do More Friends Mean Better Grades?

Do More Friends Mean Better Grades?

Student Popularity and Academic Achievement

Published Apr 2, 2009

by Kata Mihaly

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Peer interactions have been argued to play a major role in student academic achievement. Recent work has focused on measuring the structure of peer interactions with the location of the student in their social network and has found a positive relationship between student popularity and academic achievement. Here the author ascertains the robustness of previous findings to controls for endogenous friendship formation. The results indicate that popularity influences academic achievement positively in the baseline model, a finding which is consistent with the literature. However, controlling for endogenous friendship formation results in a large drop in the effect of popularity, with a significantly negative coefficient in all of the specifications. These results point to a negative short term effect of social capital accumulation, lending support to the theory that social interactions crowd out activities that improve academic performance.

This paper series made possible by the NIA funded RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the NICHD funded RAND Population Research Center.

This report is part of the RAND working paper series. RAND working papers are intended to share researchers' latest findings and to solicit informal peer review. They have been approved for circulation by RAND but may not have been formally edited or peer reviewed.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.