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SOCIAL INTERACTIONS AND COLLEGE ENROLLMENT: EVIDENCE FROM THE NATIONAL EDUCATION LONGITUDINAL STUDY

Authors

  • JASON FLETCHER

    1. Fletcher: Department of Health Policy and Management, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06510. Phone 203 785 5760, Fax 203 785 6287, E-mail jason.fletcher@yale.edu
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    • This research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health under Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award T32 MH18029-20 from the National Institute of Mental Health. I thank Andrew Reschovsky, Barbara Wolfe, John Mullahy, Steven Deller, and Laura Schechter for helpful comments. I am also grateful to James Beaudoin at the Applied Population Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin for assistance with the geographic data for colleges and to Ruth Lopez Turley, Steven Lehrer, Rafael Lalive, Steven Durlauf, Ethan Cohen-Cole, and Jorge Aguero for helpful discussions and suggestions.


Abstract

This paper uses nationally representative data on high school students to test for several types of social influences on the decision to enroll in college. An instrumental variable strategy is used in order to manage the well-known reflection problem in social interactions research. Additionally, I am able to incorporate several usually unavailable group-level factors to reduce the possibility of important group-level characteristics driving the relationships. I present evidence that a 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of high school classmates who attend college is predicted to increase an individual's probability of attending college by approximately 2–3 percentage points. (JEL I2, J24, J18)

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