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Working paper

The Diffusion of Academic Achievements: Social Selection and Influence in Student Networks

Dokuka S., Valeeva D., Yudkevich M. M.
Peer group effects show the influence of student social environments on their individual achievements. Traditionally, a social environment is considered by researchers of peer effects as exogenously given. However, significant peers that affect performance are often those that are deliberately chosen. Students might choose their friends among peers with similar academic achievements. A dynamic analysis of student social networks and academic achievements is needed to disentangle social selection and social influence processes in network formation. Using data about the friendship and advice networks of first year undergraduate students, we show that friends tend to assimilate each others’ achievements and choose advisers with similar grades. We explain these results by social segregation based on student performance. The article contributes to the dynamic analysis of student social networks and the understanding of the nature of peer group effects in education