Institute for Economic and Social Research

Virtual Workshops on Topics in Regional and Urban Economics: China, Asia, and Beyond|Zhi Wang


Title:  Spatial Structure of Peer Network and Academic Achievements

Speaker:Zhi Wang,Fudan University

Time:October 23, 2020, 9:00-10:30AM

About the speaker:

Dr. Zhi Wang is an associate professor (with tenure) in the School of Economics at Fudan University. She received her PhD in Economics from Brown University in 2013. Her research focuses on the applications of microeconomics in the field of Urban Economics. Her papers have been published or forthcoming at Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, and Journal of Housing Economics.


This paper investigates how the spatial layout of a peer network affects academic performance using a field experiment conducted in a Chinese high school. In each classroom, students are sorted into study groups with balanced academic and gender compositions in the beginning of a semester. Each group contains six students sitting in two rows of three. In the treated groups, the top two students ranked by previous test scores are assigned to sit in the middle of each row. We find that the treatment effect is heterogeneous. It benefits the bottom two students but harms the middle two students. The negative effect to the two middle-score students, however, disappears when they are sitting on the same side. Our results suggest that the spatial layout of a group can have a significant impact on learning outcomes.


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