The Long-run Effects of Peers on Mental Health

Lukas Kiessling, Jonathan Norris

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper

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This paper studies how peers in school affect students’ mental health. Guided by a theoretical framework, we find that increasing students’ relative ranks in their cohorts by one standard deviation improves their mental health by 6% of a standard deviation conditional on own ability. These effects are more pronounced for low-ability students, persistent for at least 14 years, and carry over to economic long-run outcomes. Moreover, we document a strong asymmetry: Students who receive negative rather than positive shocks react more strongly. Our findings therefore provide evidence on how the school environment can have long-lasting consequences for the well-being of individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde
Number of pages70
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • peer effects
  • mental health
  • depression
  • rank effects
  • public health
  • economics
  • economic long-run outcomes


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