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Title: Essays on social networks, participation, and outcomes in education
Author: Bulczak, Grzegorz
ISNI:       0000 0004 2731 2012
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis explores the role of social networks in determining adolescents’ outcomes in schools. The thesis consists of three papers that seek to empirically test how characteristic of friendship networks and peers affect adolescents’ choices and performance in education. The main goal of the first paper is to estimate the effects of ego’s friends age diversity on academic performance. The findings provide evidence that having an age diversified friendship network results in significantly worse academic outcomes. Contrary to the previous research, no evidence is found that having a best friend of a different age, or a group of friends of average age that differs from an individual’s age is associated with worse outcomes in education. This paper addresses concerns about self-selection into networks and unobserved school level differences by using within-school variation and instrumental variable methods. The findings remain robust after the sample is limited to students with no criminal background and those that are in the expected grade for their given age. In the second paper a hypothesis that more interconnected networks (those with high density of friendships) positively impact on adolescents’ school performance due to more scope for norms and sanctions, is tested. The findings provide evidence that for an individual having a close network during high school results in significantly better academic outcomes. Individuals with friends that know each other are found to be more likely to go to college. This examination addresses concerns about self-selection into networks and unobserved school level differences. Instrumental variable approach is used to investigate the effects of closure on college attendance. The effects of closure on years of schooling are found to persist for both low and high quality networks. The findings remain robust for samples consisting of non-white and white individuals. The last paper takes a closer look at participation in extracurricular activities, a factor that is likely to influence network formation. In this chapter, the role of community composition in determining participation outcomes is examined. This investigation provides evidence suggesting that racial composition of communities affects adolescents’ participation in school extracurricular activities. The main contribution of this chapter is that problems related to sorting within communities and selection into schools, are carefully addressed.
Supervisor: Wahba, Jackline ; Schluter, Christian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HC Economic History and Conditions