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The Impact of Attending a School with High-Achieving Peers: Evidence from the New York City Exam Schools
Will Dobbie and Roland G. Fryer, Jr.
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. Jul 2014, Vol. 6, No. 3: Pages 58-75

The Impact of Attending a School with High-Achieving Peers: Evidence from the New York City Exam Schools

Will Dobbie1 and Roland G. Fryer, Jr.2

1Princeton University and EdLabs, 44 Brattle Street, Fifth Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138 (e-mail: )

2Harvard University, EdLabs, and National Bureau of Economic Research, 44 Brattle Street, Fifth Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138 (e-mail: )

Abstract

This paper uses data from three prominent exam high schools in New York City to estimate the impact of attending a school with high-achieving peers on college enrollment and graduation. Our identification strategy exploits sharp discontinuities in the admissions process. Applicants just eligible for an exam school have peers that score 0.17 to 0.36 standard deviations higher on eighth grade state tests and that are 6.4 to 9.5 percentage points less likely to be black or Hispanic. However, exposure to these higher-achieving and more homogeneous peers has little impact on college enrollment, college graduation, or college quality. (JEL H75, I21, J15)