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Identification of Social Interactions through Partially Overlapping Peer Groups

  • Giacomo De Giorgi
  • Michele Pellizzari
  • Silvia Redaelli

In this paper, we demonstrate that, in a context where peer groups do not overlap fully, it is possible to identify all the relevant parameters of the standard linear-in-means model of social interactions. We apply this novel identification structure to study peer effects in the choice of college major. Results show that one is more likely to choose a major when many of her peers make the same choice. We also show that peers can divert students from majors in which they have a relative ability advantage, with adverse consequences on academic performance, entry wages, and job satisfaction. (JEL I23, J24, J31, Z13)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 241-75

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:2:y:2010:i:2:p:241-75
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.2.2.241
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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  1. Piero Cipollone & Alfonso Rosolia, 2007. "Social Interactions in High School: Lessons from an Earthquake," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 948-965, June.
  2. Jonathan Guryan & Kory Kroft & Matt Notowidigdo, 2007. "Peer Effects in the Workplace: Evidence from Random Groupings in Professional Golf Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 13422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Giacomo De Giorgi & Michele Pellizzari, 2011. "Understanding Social Interactions: Evidence from the Classroom," Working Papers 385, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  4. Keith A. Bender & John S. Heywood, 2009. "Educational Mismatch among Ph.D.s: Determinants and Consequences," NBER Chapters, in: Science and Engineering Careers in the United States: An Analysis of Markets and Employment, pages 229-255 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Graham, Bryan S. & Hahn, Jinyong, 2005. "Identification and estimation of the linear-in-means model of social interactions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 1-6, July.
  6. 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.
  7. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  8. Francesco Giavazzi & Pietro Garibaldi & Andrea Ichino & Enrico Rettore, 2009. "College cost and time to complete a degree: Evidence from tuition discontinuities," Working Papers 354, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  9. Scott E. Carrell & Richard L. Fullerton & James E. West, 2009. "Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 439-464, 07.
  10. Robst, John, 2007. "Education and job match: The relatedness of college major and work," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 397-407, August.
  11. 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.
  12. Bryan S. Graham, 2008. "Identifying Social Interactions Through Conditional Variance Restrictions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 643-660, 05.
  13. Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson & David Pozen, 2007. "Building Criminal Capital behind Bars: Peer Effects in Juvenile Corrections," NBER Working Papers 12932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  15. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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