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"Peer Perceptions and Students’ Investments in Schoolwork"
joint with Ranveig Falch at NHH

Abstract : Students’ study time is a key input in their education production function ; however, little is known about the determinants of this input. In this paper, we investigate whether students’ study time is impacted by peers, and we focus on a novel channel for peer effects in study time, namely beliefs about peers’ behavior. Based on a randomized controlled trial, we provide incentivized evidence that middle school students largely underestimate how much time their classmates spend on schoolwork, and re-calibrating students’ beliefs with an information treatment increases study time. Building on the partial population design of our experiment, we further show that changes in the beliefs and behaviors of treated students have positive spillover effects on non-treated students within the same classroom, and we discuss likely mechanisms.