NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Katrina's Children: Evidence on the Structure of Peer Effects from Hurricane Evacuees

Scott Imberman, Adriana D. Kugler, Bruce Sacerdote

NBER Working Paper No. 15291
Issued in August 2009
NBER Program(s):   CH   ED   LS   PE

In 2005, hurricanes Katrina and Rita forced many children to relocate across the Southeast. While schools quickly enrolled evacuees, receiving families worried about the impact of evacuees on non-evacuee students. Data from Houston and Louisiana show that, on average, the influx of evacuees moderately reduced elementary math test scores in Houston. We reject linear-in-means models of peer effects and find evidence of a highly non-linear but monotonic model - student achievement improves with high ability and worsens with low ability peers. Moreover, exposure to undisciplined evacuees increased native absenteeism and disciplinary problems, supporting a "bad apple" model in behavior.

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Published: Scott A. Imberman & Adriana D. Kugler & Bruce I. Sacerdote, 2012. "Katrina's Children: Evidence on the Structure of Peer Effects from Hurricane Evacuees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2048-82, August.

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