Friends or Family? Revisiting the Effects of High School Popularity on Adult Earnings
Recent evidence has suggested that popularity during high school is linked with wages during mid-life using the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. The results were shown to be robust to a large set of individual-level heterogeneity included completed schooling, cognitive ability, and personality measures. This paper revisits this question by first replicating the results using an alternative dataset that is very similar in structure. Like the previous results, the Add Health baseline effects suggest that an additional high school friendship nomination is linked to a 2% increase in earnings around age 30. However, leveraging the unique sibling structure of the Add Health shows that sibling comparisons eliminate any associations between popularity and earnings. The findings suggest that families, rather than friends, may be the cause of the association.
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