NETWORK CLOSURE AND ACADEMIC ATTAINMENT. THE SPECIAL ROLE OF FRIENDSHIP

G. Bulczak

University of Gdansk (POLAND)
This paper uses unique micro data on friendship networks from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescents Health to estimate the effects of network closure on academic attainment. The findings provide evidence that for an individual having a close network during high school results in significantly better academic outcomes. Individuals with friends that know each other are found to be more likely to go to college. This examination addresses concerns about self-selection into networks and unobserved school level differences. Instrumental variable approach is used to investigate whether the effects of closure affect on college attendance. The findings are in line with previous studies that find a significant relation between closure and outcomes. Furthermore, the analysis provides suggestive evidence that reputation is more likely to arise, and to have a bigger impact on attainment, in networks of high closure. The effects of closure on years of schooling are found to persist for both low and high quality networks. The findings remain robust for samples consisting of non-white and white individuals. Possible explanations for these findings include more pro-social behaviours associated with closure. The results find support in previous studies that link community closure and better outcomes for individuals.