This paper discusses the `exposure effect' in child development by investigating the extent to which the educational background of peers' parents is related to a child's future college attainment. I analyze the friendship networks of a nationally representative sample of high-school students in the US. To address endogenous friendship formation, I adopt two distinct strategies: a selection correction approach and exploiting within-school cohort variations in parental compositions. I find that peers' academic performance and other observed characteristics, with a rich set of control variables and network fixed effect, do not fully explain the spillover from peers' parents of the same gender. Effects are more prominent for students with a disadvantaged background (those with less-educated parents, single-mother households, and less caring fathers, e.g.). Suggestive evidence is provided to support the role model effect as a plausible channel.
This version, March 13, 2020
D91: Intertemporal Consumer Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
I24: Education and Inequality
J16: Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
Z13: Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification