Sunday, December 12, 2010

Arnold Kling

Arnold Kling is a skeptic about the importance of peer effects:

Back when the SAT was just math and verbal, I described us as living on the other side of a 250-point SAT gradient--in the better high schools, the SAT's were 1200, and in our high school they were 950. (I took the view that my own kids did not need high-achieving peers in order to do well on their own.)

I am not sure whether this is persuasive (although it does match my personal experience). But it is true that this is the sort of behavior that I would expect from peer-effects skeptics (and if we saw more of it there would be a much smaller premium on good schools for housing costs.


  1. Kling doesn't seem to distinguish school effects and peer effects. I read this more as scepticism directed toward the school-as-destiny meme which drives so much of the debate now.

  2. @mark: Quite true. But the two will be pretty aliased given the clustering by school district. I think it is a refreshing counter-point given how many academics (think Todd Henderson) see private schools as essential for their children.