Success by Degrees: Adolescent Popularity and Future Earnings

Ying Shi, Duke (Public Policy)
Are there labor market returns to high school popularity? One can reasonably argue that friendship nominations contain valuable information about an individual's social skills and social capital that matter for future employment. We define popularity using both local (degree) and global (Bonacich) centrality measures that vary the radii of individuals' influence in school-based peer networks. We furthermore construct measures based on the alters' attributes, namely, distinguishing between nominations from friends of the same vs. opposite sex. Using longitudinal and network data from Add Health, we examine how education, beauty, and other contextual factors moderate the influence of popularity on future earnings. Evidence shows that moving from the 10th to the 90th percentile of both local and global popularity distributions is associated with a 10 percent earnings premium for individuals in their late 20s and early 30s. ~ TBA ~
November, 24 2014 | 12:30 - 14:00 | Gross Hall 230E

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