Peer effects and measurement error: the impact of sampling variation in school survey data (evidence from PISA)

Micklewright, John, Schnepf, Sylke V. and Silva, Pedro N. (2012) Peer effects and measurement error: the impact of sampling variation in school survey data (evidence from PISA). Economics of Education Review, 31, (6), 1136-1142. (doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2012.07.015).


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Investigation of peer effects on achievement with sample survey data on schools may mean that only a random sample of the population of peers is observed for each individual. This generates measurement error in peer variables similar in form to the textbook case of errors-in-variables, resulting in the estimated peer group effects in an OLS regression model being biased towards zero. We investigate the problem using survey data for England from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) linked to administrative microdata recording information for each PISA sample member's entire year cohort. We calculate a peer group measure based on these complete data and compare its use with a variable based on peers in just the PISA sample. We also use a Monte Carlo experiment to show how the extent of the attenuation bias rises as peer sample size falls. On average, the estimated peer effect is biased downwards by about one third when drawing a sample of peers of the size implied by the PISA survey design.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2012.07.015
ISSNs: 0272-7757 (print)
Keywords: peer effects, measurement error, school surveys, sampling variation, PISA
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions : Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Social Sciences > Social Statistics & Demography
ePrint ID: 341625
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
December 2012Published
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2012 13:17
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:32

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