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What is a peer? The role of network definitions in estimation of endogenous peer effects

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  • Timothy J. Halliday
  • Sally Kwak

Abstract

We employ a standard identification strategy from the peer effects literature to investigate the importance of network definitions in estimation of endogenous peer effects. We use detailed information on friends in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health Survey (Add Health) to construct two network definitions that are less ad hoc than the school-grade cohorts commonly used in the educational peer effects literature. We demonstrate that accurate definitions of the network seriously impact estimation of peer effects. In particular, we show that peer effects estimates on educational achievement, smoking and drinking are substantially larger with our more detailed measures than with the school-grade cohorts. These results highlight the need to further understand how friendships form in order to fully understand implications for policy that alters the peer group mix at the classroom or cohort level.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/00036846.2010.505557
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 44 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (January)
Pages: 289-302

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:44:y:2012:i:3:p:289-302

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Cited by:
  1. Loh, Chung-Ping A. & Li, Qiang, 2013. "Peer effects in adolescent bodyweight: Evidence from rural China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 35-44.
  2. Josep-Oriol Escardíbul & Toni Mora & Anna Villarroya, 2013. "Peer effects on youth screen media consumption in Catalonia (Spain)," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 185-201, May.
  3. Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "Social Interactions within Cities: Neighborhood Environments and Peer Relationships," Working papers 2009-31, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  4. Asirvatham, Jebaraj & Nayga, Rodolfo M., Jr. & Thomsen, Michael R., 2012. "Peer-Effects In Obesity Among Public School Children: A Grade-Level Analysis," 2012 AAEA/EAAE Food Environment Symposium, May 30-31, Boston, MA 122732, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  5. Halliday, Timothy J. & Kwak, Sally, 2008. "Weight Gain in Adolescents and Their Peers," IZA Discussion Papers 3610, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Son Thierry Ly & Arnaud Riegert, 2013. "Persistent Classmates: How Familiarity with Peers Protects from Disruptive School Transitions," PSE Working Papers halshs-00842265, HAL.
  7. Bet Caeyers, 2014. "Exclusion bias in empirical social interaction models: causes, consequences and solutions," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-05, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  8. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00842265 is not listed on IDEAS

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