What makes you popular at school? And what are the labor market returns to popularity? We investigate these questions using an objective measure of popularity derived from sociometric theory: the number of friendship nominations received from schoolmates, interpreted as a measure of early accumulation of personal social capital. We develop an econometric model of friendship formation and labor market outcomes allowing for partial observation of networks, and provide new evidence on the impact of early family environment on popularity. We estimate that moving from the 20th to 80th percentile of the high-school popularity distribution yields a 10% wage premium nearly 40 years later.
We are grateful to the UK Economic and Social Research Council for support through the MiSoC research centre (award no. RES-518-285-001). Andrea Galeotti is grateful to the European Research Council for support through ERC-starting grant (award no. 283454). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Gabriella Conti & Andrea Galeotti & Gerrit MÃ¼ller & Stephen Pudney, 2013. "Popularity," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(4), pages 1072-1094. citation courtesy of