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Working paper

Disentangling Peer Influence On Multiple Levels

In this study we focus on the influence of peers on adolescents academic achievement. Specifically, how the learning motivation of peers is related to a student's school grades. We use multilevel regression to analyze the influence of peers on different levels of social circles: school, class, personal network, and compare the effects of "assigned friends" and "chosen friends". The methods of social network analysis are used to define the personal network of a student in different ways: cliques, complete ego networks, and mutual ego networks. We demonstrate that the model improves considerably when the level of personal networks is included between individual and class levels. The learning motivation of a student's friends (defined as a clique or ego network) has an important influence on the student’s school performance, net of student’s personal characteristics.