This study examined the impact of top dog and bottom dog status on bullying, safety, belonging, and academic achievement. This article provides the first credibly causal evidence that top dog status improves the learning environment and academic achievement. We further find that the top dog effect is strongest in sixth grade and in schools with longer grade spans and that the top dog effect is not explained by new students to a school or student height.
Schwartz, A. E., Stiefel, L., & Rothbart, M. W. (2016). Do top dogs rule in middle school? Evidence on bullying, safety, and belonging. American Educational Research Journal, 53(5), 1450-1484. https://dx.doi.org/10.3102/0002831216657177