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Classroom peer effects and student achievement
In this paper we analyze the impact of classroom peers' ability on individual student achievement with a unique longitudinal data set covering all Florida public school students in grades 3-10 over a five-year period. Unlike many data sets used to study peer effects in education, ours identifies each member of a student's classroom peer group in elementary, middle, and high school as well as the classroom teacher responsible for instruction. As a result, we can control for student fixed effects simultaneously with teacher fixed effects, thereby alleviating biases due to endogenous assignment ...
Childhood lead and academic performance in Massachusetts
It is now widely accepted that childhood exposure to even low levels of lead can adversely affect neurodevelopment, behavior, and cognitive performance. Using individual-level data on childhood lead levels and test scores in Massachusetts, this paper investigates the link between lead levels in early childhood in the 1990s and student test scores in elementary school in the 2000s. Elevated levels of blood lead in early childhood are shown to adversely impact standardized test performance, even when controlling for community and school characteristics. Accordingly, public health policy that ...
Richer but more unequal? nutrition and caste gaps
This paper explores children's cognitive outcomes using novel panel data from India for children 6 months through 8 years. For the first time in a developing country, this allow us to estimate a value-added model of cognitive development at a very young age. We look at the nutrition-cognition link and at the relationship between caste and test scores. We use an instrumental variable approach and find that a 1 standard deviation increase in height-for-age at the age of 5 leads to cognitive test scores that are about a 16 per cent of a SD higher at age 8. Our analysis suggests that the ...