Bart Golsteyn (Maastricht University): The Impact of Peer Personality on Academic Achievement
Research on peer effects focusses on spillovers related to gender, race and achievement tests. This paper investigates whether peer personality traits affect university students’ educational achievement. We find that students who were randomly assigned to groups with more persistent peers obtain higher grades. Exposure to risk seeking peers lowers student performance. We also find that students specialize in subjects in which they have a comparative advantage compared to their peers’ traits. The personality peer effects we document are distinct from achievement peer effects and suggest that peers’ personality traits causally impact human capital accumulation.