Category Archives: students

17/4/16: Peer Effects in Classroom: The Value of Better Discipline?

In workplace, as well as in education, peer-pressure and competition, peer-linked cooperation and collaboration and other peer-linked effects of have been important contributors to work- and learning-related outcomes. Ditto for entrepreneurship, as collaborated by the effects of clusters, such as the Silicon Valley. However, we tend to think of peer effects as arising from more mature, adult-level interactions in either third level education, or career-linked workplaces.

As noted by Scott Carrell, Mark Hoekstra and Elira Kuka in their paper “The Long-Run Effects of Disruptive Peers” (February 2016 as NBER WP No. w22042:, “there is relatively little evidence on the long-run educational and labor market consequences of childhood peers.”

So the authors examined “administrative data on elementary school students” and students’ “subsequent test scores, college attendance and completion, and earnings” to identify any potential effects of childhood peers on educational outcomes.

“To distinguish the effect of peers from confounding factors, we exploit the population variation in the proportion of children from families linked to domestic violence, who were shown by Carrell and Hoekstra (2010, 2012) to disrupt contemporaneous behavior and learning.”

The end results show that “exposure to a disruptive peer in classes of 25 during elementary school reduces earnings at age 26 by 3 to 4 percent. We estimate that differential exposure to children linked to domestic violence explains 5 to 6 percent of the rich-poor earnings gap in our data, and that removing one disruptive peer from a classroom for one year would raise the present discounted value of classmates' future earnings by $100,000.”

These are striking numbers. Accumulated over life-cycle of employment, gains from reducing classroom-level disruptive behaviour of peers can lead to a significant uplift in both, economic welfare and individual financial wellbeing. It can also, potentially, help closing the income inequality gaps. The question, however, is how does one achieve such an outcome in the real world, where even disruptive students have a right to education.

25/2/15: QNHS Q4 2014: Employment, Part-Time, Full-Time, & Underemployment

In the first three posts covering the QNHS results for Q4 2014, I discussed

  • Labour Force Participation Rate (poor news showing decline in the already historically low participation) and Unemployment Rate (goods news with unemployment - absent seasonal adjustment falling to 9.9% and the rate of decline in unemployment on quarterly basis accelerating):
  • The size of labour force (which is worrying and static at and around crisis trough) and broader measures of unemployment (at high enough levels to arrant concern, but declining rapidly, although inclusive of the state training programmes participants and emigration figures the declines are shallower than across the officially reported numbers), here:
  • Employment growth overall and by sectors was covered here: Employment grew by 29,100 over 12 months of 2014 and the rate of growth has accelerated between Q3 and Q4. Private non-agricultural employment is rising faster than total employment and the rate of employment growth here also accelerated in Q4 2014. High value-added sectors employment is also rising, at a rate faster than the overall employment is increasing.

Now, let's consider labour force breakdown by economic status.

Total number of working age adults residing in Ireland (age 15 and over) rose to 3,601,900 in Q4 2014 from 3,595,600 in Q3 2014, up 0.13% y/y (+4,500).

Of these, numbers of those at work rose to 1,877,900 in Q4 2013, up 1.56% y/y or 28,800. This is a key number as it reflects total creation of jobs in the economy. The rate of increases in the number of those at work was slower in Q4 2014 than in Q3 2014 (+1.7%). Compared to Q1 2011 (when the current Government took office), there number of those at work in Q4 2014 was up 4.27% or 76,900.

Number of those unemployed fell 13.05% y/y in Q4 2014 to 263,900 - a rate of y/y decline that is faster than 9.76 drop recorded in Q3 2014. Which is very good news. Overall, there were 39,600 fewer unemployed in Q4 2014 than in Q4 2013. Which is also a good number.

Now, between Q1 2011 and Q4 2014, 76,900 more adults went to work, but unemployment fell by 101,800, which shows that 24,900 adults have moved out of unemployment but did not go to work.

Number of students in Q4 2014 stood at 415,100 which is down 0.1% y/y (-400) and is up 3% (+12,100) on Q1 2011.

Number of those engaged on home duties stood at 476,300 in Q4 2014, up 0.55% y/y (+2,600). This increase stands contrasted by a 1.63% drop in Q3 2014 y/y. Since Q1 2011, the number of those engaged in home duties fell 10.17% (-53,900).

417,800 individuals of age 15 and over were officially in retirement in Q4 2014, up 2.93% (+11,900) y/y and up 19.95% (+69,500) on Q1 2011 - a massive increase clearly driven in part by early retirement schemes deployed in the public sector.

The mysterious category of 'Other' - those neither working, nor studying, nor unemployed, nor working on home duties, nor retired - was at 150,800, up 0.8% (+1,200) y/y and down 100 (-0.07%) on Q1 2011.

Recall that there were 1,877,900 individuals at work in Ireland in Q4 2014, a number that is 28,800 higher than in Q4 2013 and 76,900 higher than in Q1 2011. Of these, 1,474,300 individuals were in full time employment - an increase of 38,300 (+2.67%) y/y and a rise of 91,300 (+6.6%) since Q1 2011. Which shows clearly that new employment growth has been more significant in full-time category and there have been some transitions from part-time to full-time jobs. This is excellent news.

Meanwhile, number of those in part-time employment dropped to 383,600, down 2.34% (-9,200) y/y but up 3,100 (+0.81%) on Q1 2011.

Taking a closer look at part-time employment: In Q4 2014, number of part-time workers who reported themselves not underemployed was 276,000, up 5.59% y/y or 14,600. Compared to Q1 2011, there were 11,000 (+4.15%) more phis too is good news. And it confirms the suspicion that jobs quality has improved in recent quarters. Further indication of same is the number of those who are employed part time but do report themselves to be underemployed. This number stood at 107,600 in Q4 2014, down 18.17% y/y (-23,900) and down 7,900 (-6.84%) on Q1 2011.

Two charts to illustrate the aforementioned trends:

Overall conclusion: the quality of employment is improving, with more increases in full time employment and in part time not underemployed jobs. Rapid rate of growth in those in retirement (+65,900 on Q1 2011) relative to those at work (+76,900 over the same period) is worrying, however.