Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Lund University, Department of Economics

No 2014:19: Friendship Network in the Classroom: Parent Bias and Peer Effects

Fabio Landini (), Natalia Montinari (), Paolo Pin () and Marco Piovesan ()
Additional contact information
Fabio Landini: Bocconi University, Postal: Bocconi University, MEDAlics/CRIOS, Via Guglielmo Roenteng 1, 20136 Milan, Italy,
Natalia Montinari: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Paolo Pin: Università di Siena, Postal: Università di Siena, , Dipartimento di Economia Politica e Statistica, Piazza San Francesco 7, , 53100 Siena, , Italy,
Marco Piovesan: Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen, Postal: Department of Economics, , University of Copenhagen, , Øster Farimagsgade 5, DK-1353 Copenhagen K, , Denmark,

Abstract: We interview both parents and their children enrolled in six primary schools in the district of Treviso (Italy). We study the structural differences between the children network of friends reported by children and the one elicited asking their parents. We find that the parents’ network has a bias: parents expect peer effects on school achievement to be stronger than what they really are. Thus, parents of low-performing students report their children to be friends of high-performing students. Our numerical simulations indicate that when this bias is combined with a bias on how some children target friends, then there is a multiplier effect on the expected school achievement.

Keywords: social networks; primary school; friendships; parents’ bias; homophily; peer effects; Bonacich centrality

JEL-codes: D85; I21; Z13

42 pages, May 18, 2014

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