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My peers made me choose it: The probability of leaving a natural sciences track early when enrollment is based on conformity
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One of the strongest sources of interpersonal influence on educational decisions is generated through conformity between peers. Despite the large literature on conformity and educational decisions, temporal implications of such effects have been overlooked. This study examines if students conform to educational decisions they later regret by analyzing students in transition from lower to upper secondary education in Sweden. More specifically, the probability of leaving a natural science track within a year from enrollment is examined as an effect of conforming to the decisions of peers in the previous educational context. The study uses administrative population data covering all students transitioning from lower to upper secondary education in Sweden from 1999 to 2010. Such unique data also provide opportunities to examine how peer characteristics within the new educational context affect ego’s probability of leaving the track. The findings provide robust support for the expectation that, to some extent, peers alter ego’s educational decisions towards decisions they later regret.

National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-160734OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-160734DiVA, id: diva2:1253107
Available from: 2018-10-03 Created: 2018-10-03 Last updated: 2018-10-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Social Influence and Educational Decisions: Studies on Peer Influence in Secondary Education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Social Influence and Educational Decisions: Studies on Peer Influence in Secondary Education
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines the role of peers when students’ educational decisions are formed. The thesis uses rich administrative data from Sweden, which provides opportunities to follow students over different transitions in their educational career and assess the role of peers in different educational situations. The thesis consists of one introductory chapter and four empirical studies. Study I examines how peers influence each other’s applications to upper secondary education through two different influence functions, where students both conform to their peers’ ambitious decisions and simultaneously can be discouraged from ambitious decisions by high-achieving peers. Study II builds on the findings from Study I and examines if students who conform to their peers’ educational ambitions and enroll in ambitious and demanding educations are more prone to leave such educations since their applications potentially were too myopic when influenced by their peers. Study III examines how students’ decisions to apply to gender typical and gender atypical upper secondary educations were affected by their peers. The study additionally examines if students enrolled in atypical educations are more likely to leave the education and if such decisions are mediated by the peer composition in their upper secondary education. Study IV examines how an admission reform to upper secondary education, which increased the sorting of students on achievements, affected application behavior to different tertiary education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 2018. p. 33
Series
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; 74
Keywords
Peer influence, educational decisions, school leaving, application behavior, reference group
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-160739 (URN)978-91-7797-492-5 (ISBN)978-91-7797-493-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-11-16, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2018-10-24 Created: 2018-10-03 Last updated: 2018-10-16Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf