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Peer Effects in Employment: Results from Mexico's Poor Rural Communities

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  • Araujo, Caridad
  • de Janvry, Alain
  • Sadoulet, Elisabeth

Abstract

Empirical evidence has shown that off-farm non-agricultural (OFNA) employment offers a major pathway from poverty for rural populations. However, the pattern of participation in these activities is heterogeneous across categories of individuals and poorly understood. We explore the role of spillovers from peers on an individual’s participation in formal and informal OFNA employment using village census data for rural Mexico. We test and reject the possibility that peers’ decisions could be proxying for unobserved individual, village-level, or individual-type effects. We find that peers’ participation in OFNA employment has a large impact on an individual’s ability to engage in this type of employment, both formal and informal, even after controlling for individual attributes and village characteristics. Peer effects are structured by similarities in gender, ethnicity, educational level, and land endowment. We find that marginal peer effects tend to be stronger for categories of individuals that are already more engaged in OFNA employment, such as men, non-indigenous people, the more educated, and the landless, contributing to reinforcing inequalities in accessing these jobs. However, the role of peer effects relative to that of education in obtaining formal OFNA employment is more important for members of groups that are less engaged in these jobs, such as women, indigenous people, the less educated, and smallholders.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series with number qt977093fg.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt977093fg

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Keywords: off-farm employment; rural poverty; social aspects;

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References

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  1. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 1999. "Network Effects and Welfare Cultures," JCPR Working Papers 62, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  2. Jacob M. Markman & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2003. "Does peer ability affect student achievement?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 527-544.
  3. David J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Peer Effects in Academic Outcomes: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 9-23, February.
  4. Reardon, Thomas & Berdegue, Julio & Escobar, German, 2001. "Rural Nonfarm Employment and Incomes in Latin America: Overview and Policy Implications," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 395-409, March.
  5. Andrea Ichino & Giovanni Maggi, 1999. "Work Environment and Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials in a Large Italian Firm," NBER Working Papers 7415, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Yannis M. Ioannides & Jeffrey E. Zabel, 2003. "Neighbourhood effects and housing demand," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 563-584.
  7. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  9. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Caridad Araujo, 2004. "Can Non-Agricultural Employment Reduce Rural Poverty? Evidence from Mexico," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 41(124), pages 383-399.
  2. Harry Anthony Patrinos & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2007. "Economic Opportunities for Indigenous Peoples in Latin America : Conference Edition," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8019, The World Bank.
  3. Zhao Chen & Shiqing Jiang & Ming Lu & Hiroshi Sato, 2008. "How do Heterogeneous Social Interactions affect the Peer Effect in Rural-Urban Migration?:Empirical Evidence from China," LICOS Discussion Papers 22408, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.

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