Zsuzsanna Vadle (Class '22; MA EconPol) won the 2nd prize of the Hungarian Society of Economics thesis award, in the MA category with her thesis defended at CEU in June 2022

January 10, 2023

Classmates and Educational Decisions: The Role of Peers in Educational Aspirations and Student Achievement


Abstract: I present new evidence on the role of peers in educational expectations and subsequent educational achievement using Hungarian administrative test scores and survey data. I show that certain elements of class culture are strongly related to educational and career expectations. I provide evidence that educational aspirations instrumented with peers’ average aspirations affect student achievement as measured by standardized tests. The results imply that orientation programs at schools to increase awareness about the importance and benefits of education could mitigate the issue of early school leaving and youth idling through adjusting expectations. Assuming that peer effects operate through the identity utility mechanism, schools may normalize striving for better performance and higher achievement by rewarding not only educational results but educational effort as well.