Parents are a crucial input into the education production function, both for their children and children's friends. This paper studies the effect of socially influential peer parents on students. Utilizing random classroom assignments in China middle schools, we probe the effect of parents who are cadres (government officials) on the educational outcome of their children's classmates. Because cadres in China have broad local influences in resource allocation, their presence elicits responses by surrounding students, parents, and teachers. We find that increased exposure to peer parents who are cadres raises a student's test score. We identify changes in parental behaviors and increased parent-teacher interaction as plausible channels. Cadre spillover is stronger in rural areas and schools with more government support, consistent with the variation in the local influence of cadres. The spillover concentrates on students who have good relationships with parents, echoing the role of parents in driving the spillover.
First version, November, 2021
D91: Intertemporal Consumer Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
I25: Education and Economic Development
J62: Job, Occupational, and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
O53: Economywide Country Studies: Asia including Middle East
P36: Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions: Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training: Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty