“Who Is Sitting Next to You? Peer Effects inside the Classroom” by Prof. Jungmin Lee
Sok Chul Hong
We examine college students’ interaction within classrooms and estimate peer eﬀects on their academic performance. We exploit a unique seating rule at a university in South Korea, known as the ﬁxed seat system. We propose a novel identiﬁcation strategy based on students’ repeated interaction. Our ﬁndings show that a student’s performance in a class is signiﬁcantly inﬂuenced by his or her next-seat neighbor’s unobservable ability. The eﬀect is heterogeneous, varying by student and class characteristics. Also quantile regressions reveal that peer eﬀects are signiﬁcant among below-average students and among those at the top end.