Published Jan 31, 2020

Yuhong Du  

Yanbin Guo


Peer is an important factor affecting the academic performance of middle school students. Domestic research has discussed this issue, but there are still some shortcomings in solving endogeneity aspects. Therefore, this study used the random effect of natural changes in pubertal development and maturity of middle school students in two years adjacent to the same class to identify peer effects due to changes in pubertal development and maturity; at the same time, first-order difference and quantile regression are used to solve the endogeneity problems in general regression analysis. We found that girls’ developmental maturity is significantly negatively related to their performance, and boys’ developmental maturity is significantly positively related to their performance, which indicates that there is a gender difference in the impact of adolescent developmental maturity on academic performance of middle school students. In addition, the peer effect is also heterogeneous, that is, in overall, the lower the development maturity of girls in a class, the more conducive to the improvement of student performance; the higher the maturity of students in class, the more conducive to the improvement of student performance. The findings of this study have certain policy implications for adjusting the school age of school-age children.



Peer Effect, Natural Experiment, Developmental Maturity, Heterogeneity

Supporting Agencies

This study was supported by the 2015 major research project of the Ministry of Education’s Philosophy and Social Science research project “Relationship and Contribution of Education and Economic Development” (Project #: 15JZD040).

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How to Cite
Du, Y., & Guo, Y. (2020). Peer Effect of Middle School Students: A Natural Experiment Based on Puberty Developmental Maturity. Best Evidence in Chinese Education, 4(1), 425–442. https://doi.org/10.15354/bece.20.ar019