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What Is a Peer? The Role of Network Definitions in Estimation of Endogenous Peer Effects

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Author Info

  • Halliday, Timothy J.

    ()
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa)

  • Kwak, Sally

    ()
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa)

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 Adolescent Longitudinal 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 peer network seriously impact estimation of peer effects. In particular, we show that peer effects estimates on educational achievement, smoking, sexual behavior, 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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3335.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Applied Economics, 2012, 44 (3), 289 - 302
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3335

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Keywords: education; adolescent health; peer effects;

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Halliday, Timothy J. & Kwak, Sally, 2008. "Weight Gain in Adolescents and Their Peers," IZA Discussion Papers 3610, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Son Thierry Ly & Arnaud Riegert, 2013. "Persistent Classmates: How Familiarity with Peers Protects from Disruptive School Transitions," PSE Working Papers halshs-00842265, HAL.
  4. Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "Social Interactions within Cities: Neighborhood Environments and Peer Relationships," Working papers 2009-31, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  5. 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.
  6. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00842265 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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