Interaction of spatial and peer effects on the academic achievement

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Academic achievement, as proxy of student learning, is a widely debated topic in economics with different determinants being raised as possible causes for its evolution and differences between age and gender groups; this can be characteristics from within the family, the educational institutions and even the socio-economic status. However, after taking into account the above aspects, a part of the phenomenon remains unexplained. This problem is solved by raising academic achievement as an effect of a social process of human capital accumulation that occurs within the classroom, in which the results obtained by a student also depend on their peers and their allocation. In this sense, this paper aims to find possible grade agglomeration clusters explained by the spatial location of the students and their peers inside the classroom, trying to determine if it is a strategic behavior.

This work contributes to the literature in two ways: first, it looks for a better understanding of the students conduct inside the classroom related with the space and their peers. The study of the peer effects and the spatial allocation around a student is important because the intensity of the interaction could be affected by the environment, in the way it does more or less necessary the relationship between individuals and allows a greater heterogeneity among them. To understand this effect will allow for better pedagogic strategies. Second, this research also brings some industrial organization tools into the economics of education, seeking for more explanations to the academic results to the extent that the students could have strategic behavior in evaluative processes that can alter the grade they obtain, and thus the information about their real ...

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...a student and the possibility of strategic behavior. Finally, a flows function was estimated to determine if the spatial and peer effects were complementary or substitutes (Agrawal, Kapur and McHale, 2008). The obtained results are temporally restricted because of the confidentiality agreement.

Keywords: Social networks, experimental economics, strategic cooperation, agglomeration.

Works Cited

Benedict, M. E., and Hoag, J. (2004). Seating Location in Large Lectures: Are Seating Preferences or Location Related to Course Performance? The Journal of Economic Education, 35(3): 215-231.

Moran, P. A. P. (1950). Notes on Continuous Stochastic Phenomena. Biometrika 37 (1): 17–23

Agrawal, A., Kapur, D. and McHale, J. (2008). How do spatial and social proximity influence knowledge flows? Evidence from patent data. Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, 64(2): 258-269.

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