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October 26, 2023: Jan Bietenbeck (Lund University)

Peer Motivation and Educational Success


I provide evidence of social spillovers of personality by showing that peer motivation affects educational success. I first document that academic motivation, which is a key aspect of personality in the context of education, predicts own achievement, high school GPA, and college-test taking among elementary school students. Exploiting random assignment of students to classes, I then show that exposure to motivated classmates causally affects achievement, an effect that operates over and above spillovers of classmates’ past achievement and sociodemographic composition. However, peer motivation in elementary school does not affect own motivation and long-term educational success.