Identity economics and malleable characteristics among adolescents: a study of family and peer effects for schooling attitudes and performance

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jonathan Lee Norris (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Jeremy Bray

Abstract: I draw from the identity economics, skill development, network theory, and peer effects literature to advance new research questions around educational attainment. Theoretically, I explore the role of competition between own tastes and social group identity for choices, and I extend the theory to the case of two group influences that may combine or compete. Specifically, I apply the extended theory to adolescent choice of effort in school, when adolescents have a family and peer group. Empirically, I study the impact of family and peers on adolescent attitudes about school and their performance in school, using spatial econometrics. The results show that family educational expectations impact attitudes about school and spill-over through a school by the presence of peer effects in attitudes. The results also show that performance in school is affected by attitudes, that peer effects in performance exist, and that spill-overs from changes in attitudes affect the performance of adolescents in a school. The implication from my study is that programs working with both families and adolescents in a school on attitudes about school can generate positive influence, which spreads over the school social space. I contribute to the literature on identity, skill development, and peer effects drawing research questions from insights of all three, providing a theoretical synthesis, and empirically showing evidence consistent with the role of multiple social constraints on the development of attitudes about school and performance in school.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Family ideals, Identity economics, Noncognitive skills, Peer effects
Academic achievement $x Econometric models
Identity (Psychology) in adolescence
Attitude change
Parental influences
Social influence

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