Racial identity and education in social networks

Eleonora Patacchini, Yves Zenou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate identity issues to explain differences in school performance between students of differentraces. Using a unique dataset of friendship relationships between students in the US, we show thatfriendship formation can be taken as a measure of racial identity. We then find that having a higherpercentage of same-race friends is associated with higher test scores for white teenagers and with lowertest scores for blacks. However, the higher is the education level of a black teenager s parents, the lower isthis negative association, while for whites, it is the reverse. It is thus the combination of choice of friendsand parents education that seems to be an important factor in shaping differences in school performancebetween students of different races but also between students of the same race.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Networks
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • minorities
  • school performance
  • oppositional identities

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