Good Peers Have Asymmetric Gendered Effects on Female Educational Outcomes: Experimental Evidence from Mexico

Produced by: 
Inter-American Development Bank
Available from: 
May 2021
Paper author(s): 
Matías Busso
Verónica Frisancho
Topic: 
Education - Health
Year: 
2021

This  study  examines  the  gendered  effects  of  early  and  sustained  exposure  to  high- performing peers on female educational trajectories.  Exploiting random allocation to classrooms within middle schools, we measure the effect of male and female high per- formers on girls’ high school placement outcomes. We disentangle two channels through which peers of either sex can play a role: academic performance and school preferences. We also focus on the effects of peers along the distribution of baseline academic perfor- mance. Exposure to good peers of either sex reduces the degree to which high-achieving girls seek placement in more-selective schools.  High-achieving boys have particularly strong, negative effects on high-performing girls’ admission scores and preferences for more-selective schools.  By contrast, high-achieving girls improve low-performing girls’ placement outcomes, but exclusively through a positive effect on exam scores.

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