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How Peer Effects Affect Students' Cognitive Abilities

【Authors】
ZHAO Ying
【WorkUnit】
Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, 430073.
【Abstract】

The equity of compulsory education includes not only the rational distribution of educational opportunities among different groups at the explicit level, but also the guarantee of educational quality at the implicit level. Previous research has paid more attention to the former than to the latter. This paper uses CEPS random survey data of junior middle school students in China from 2013 to 2014 to study the peer effects on individuals' cognitive ability from the perspective of student peer effects. The analysis shows that: (1) the peer effects in the stage of compulsory education in China have negative impacts on students' performance, which is magnified by the increasing class and school size in the process of promoting compulsory education; (2) students with better grades benefit from interaction with students at the same level, but students with worse grades suffer in the process; (3) as far as the transmission mechanism is concerned, the class size and teacher characteristics are the main factors. In the new era, China's compulsory education policy should gradually shift its focus from quantity growth to quality improvement, giving consideration to both explicit equality in access to education and implicit equality in education quality. 
JEL:H52, I24, I26

【KeyWords】
Peer Effects, Non-linear Effects, Cognitive Ability, Class Size