Liang Zhang

Institution: New York University

Liang Zhang is a Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Administration, Leadership, and Technology at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Before joining NYU in 2017, he taught at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Vanderbilt University, and Penn State University. His research focuses on higher education economics, finance, and public policy, particularly on the role of governments and institutions in affecting institutional performances and student outcomes. 


Shi Pu, Yu Yan, Liang Zhang.

This study used college dormitory room and social group assignment data to investigate the peer effect on the probability of college students switching their major fields of study. The results revealed strong evidence of peer effects on students’ decisions to switch majors. In particular, the number of a student’s peers who have the same major significantly reduces the student’s likelihood of switching majors; however, when a same-major peer switches majors, it significantly increases a student’s probability of switching majors. This study also found that peers’ majors affected students’ choice of destination majors. Students in the same peer group are more likely to choose the same destination majors, compared to non-peers. Finally, we found that in general peer effects at the dormitory room level, both in choice and persistence of major, were stronger than were peer effects at the social group level.

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