Identifying Endogenous Peer Effects in the Spread of Obesity
AbstractRecent research in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) purports to show the existence of peer effects in the spread of obesity. Using a dataset of 5124 residents from Framingham, Massachusetts spanning the years 1971 to 2003, the authors show correlations between own weight gain and friends’ and relatives’ weight gain over this period. They find, furthermore, that these results are strongest for males and weaker for females. We use the Adolescent Health Survey, a nationally representative dataset of seventh through twelfth graders in 1994 and 1996 to examine the effect of peers on weight gain. Despite the differences in the samples, we are able to replicate the pattern of results in the NEJM study. However the results are not robust to alternative definitions of the outcome variable. Furthermore, due to the various identification issues that are unresolved in both this and the NEJM paper, we conclude that the evidence for contagion effects in the spread of obesity is only suggestive at best.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 200727.
Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 22 Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
- I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Production
- J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-11-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-HEA-2007-11-03 (Health Economics)
- NEP-URE-2007-11-03 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Deaton, Angus, 1995.
"Data and econometric tools for development analysis,"
Handbook of Development Economics,
in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 1785-1882
- Deaton, A.S., 1993. "Data and Econometric Tools for Development Analysis," Papers 172, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
- Bo E. Honoré & Ekaterini Kyriazidou, 2000. "Panel Data Discrete Choice Models with Lagged Dependent Variables," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(4), pages 839-874, July.
- Alejandro Gaviria & Steven Raphael, 2001. "School-Based Peer Effects And Juvenile Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 257-268, May.
- 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.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Web Technician).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.