Peer Effects in Medical School

Peter Arcidiacono, Sean Nicholson

NBER Working Paper No. 9025
Issued in June 2002
NBER Program(s):Health Care, Labor Studies

Using data on the universe of students who graduated from U.S. medical schools between 1996 and 1998, we examine whether the abilities and specialty preferences of a medical school class affect a student's academic achievement in medical school and his choice of specialty. We mitigate the selection problem by including school-specific fixed effects, and show that this method yields an upper bound on peer effects for our data. We estimate positive peer effects that disappear when school-specific fixed effects are added to control for the endogeneity of a peer group. We find no evidence that peer effects are stronger for blacks, that peer groups are formed along racial lines, or that students with relatively low ability benefit more from their peers than students with relatively high ability. However, we do find some evidence that peer groups form along gender lines.

download in pdf format
   (351 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9025

Published: Arcidiacono, Peter and Sean Nicholson. "Peer Effects In Medical School," Journal of Public Economics, 2005, v89(2-3,Feb), 327-350. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Hoxby w7867 Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation
Ding and Lehrer w12305 Do Peers Affect Student Achievement in China's Secondary Schools?
Hanushek, Kain, Markman, and Rivkin w8502 Does Peer Ability Affect Student Achievement?
Lavy, Paserman, and Schlosser w14415 Inside the Black of Box of Ability Peer Effects: Evidence from Variation in the Proportion of Low Achievers in the Classroom
Winston and Zimmerman w9501 Peer Effects in Higher Education
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us