Social Connections and Peer Effects: Experimental Evidence from Selective Schools in Perú
Román Andrés Zárate Vásquez

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Primary Discipline

This project aims to quantify the causal effects of being exposed to peers with higher cognitive and social skills. To identify these effects, I conduct an RCT in Selective High Schools in Peru. Students were classified into four types based on admission test scores and centrality measures of social networks: (i) Ch-Sh: high cognitive and high social, (ii) Ch-Sl: high cognitive and low social, (iii) Cl-Sh: low cognitive and high social, and (iv) Cl-Sl: low cognitive and low social. Conditional on the student’s type, they were randomly assigned to groups with different types of peers. These groups were used for the assignment to dormitories (2015-17 cohorts) and classrooms (2017 cohort) during the 2017 school year. I can use this variation to identify causal peer effects on social networks, standardized test scores, and non-cognitive skills.
About Román Andrés Zárate Vásquez
Román Andrés Zárate is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Economics at MIT. His primary research interests are in development and labor economics. He is a research associate at the School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative (SEII), a research program in the MIT Department of Economics focusing on the economics of education. He is part of the team evaluating the effect of exam schools and affirmative action policies in Chicago. For his research, he conducted a Randomized Control Trial in Selective Schools in Perú to study the impact of cognitive and social skills of peers on educational outcomes. Zárate holds a B.A. and M.A. in Economics from Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia.

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