IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/jecper/v22y2008i3p189-206.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Peer Effects and Alcohol Use among College Students

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Kremer
  • Dan Levy

Abstract

This paper examines the extent to which college students who drink alcohol influence their peers. We exploit a natural experiment in which students at a large state university were randomly assigned roommates through a lottery system. We find that on average, males assigned to roommates who reported drinking in the year prior to entering college had a Grade Point Average (GPA) one quarter-point lower than those assigned to nondrinking roommates. The effect of initial assignment to a drinking roommate persists into the second year of college and possibly grows. The effect is especially large for students who drank alcohol themselves in the year prior to college. In contrast to the males, females' GPAs do not appear affected by roommates' drinking prior to college. Furthermore, students' college GPA is not significantly affected by roommates' high school grades, admission test scores, or family background. These findings are more consistent with models in which peers change people's preferences than with models in which peers change people's choice sets. Surprisingly, the policy of segregating drinkers by having substance-free housing could potentially lower average GPA in the university.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kremer & Dan Levy, 2008. "Peer Effects and Alcohol Use among College Students," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 189-206, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:22:y:2008:i:3:p:189-206
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.22.3.189
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.22.3.189
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Michael Kremer & Dan Levy, 2008. "Peer Effects and Alcohol Use among College Students," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 189-206, Summer.
    2. 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.
    3. Duflo, Esther & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "Participation and investment decisions in a retirement plan: the influence of colleagues' choices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 121-148, July.
    4. David Rosenblum & Preston Hillman & David J. Zimmerman, 2004. "Institutional Ethos, Peers and Individual Outcomes," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-68, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    5. Lawrence F. Katz & Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Moving to Opportunity in Boston: Early Results of a Randomized Mobility Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 607-654.
    6. Johanne Boisjoly & Greg J. Duncan & Michael Kremer & Dan M. Levy & Jacque Eccles, 2006. "Empathy or Antipathy? The Impact of Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1890-1905, December.
    7. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1176-1209, December.
    8. David Laibson, 2001. "A Cue-Theory of Consumption," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 81-119.
    9. Lawrence Katz & B. Jeffrey Liebman, 2000. "Moving to Opportunity in Boston: Early Results of a Randomized Mobility Experiment," Working Papers 820, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    10. Becker, Gary S & Grossman, Michael & Murphy, Kevin M, 1994. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 396-418, June.
    11. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803.
    12. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2011. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1739-1774, August.
    13. repec:fth:prinin:441 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Foster, Gigi, 2006. "It's not your peers, and it's not your friends: Some progress toward understanding the educational peer effect mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1455-1475, September.
    15. Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 681-704.
    16. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
    17. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    18. Todd Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2001. "Peer Effects Among Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20013, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    19. Munshi, Kaivan & Myaux, Jacques, 2006. "Social norms and the fertility transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 1-38, June.
    20. Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, January.
    21. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Babcock, Philip & Bedard, Kelly & Fischer, Stefanie & Hartman, John, 2020. "Coordination and contagion: Individual connections and peer mechanisms in a randomized field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 185(C).
    2. Alexandra de Gendre & Nicolás Salamanca, 2020. "On the Mechanisms of Ability Peer Effects," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2020n19, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    3. Kling, Jeffrey & Liebman, Jeffrey, 2004. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects on Youth," Working Paper Series rwp04-034, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2006. "Empirics of the Identification of Social Interactions; An Evaluation of the Approaches and Their Results," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 193-228, April.
    5. Yakusheva, Olga & Kapinos, Kandice & Weiss, Marianne, 2011. "Peer effects and the Freshman 15: Evidence from a natural experiment," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 119-132, March.
    6. Balsa, Ana & Gandelman, Néstor & Roldán, Flavia, 2018. "Peer and parental influence in academic performance and alcohol use," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 41-55.
    7. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard & Sarpça, Sinan & Sieg, Holger, 2017. "A general equilibrium analysis of state and private colleges and access to higher education in the U.S," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 164-178.
    8. Dennis Epple & Richard Romano & Sinan Sarpça & Holger Sieg, 2013. "The U.S. Market for Higher Education: A General Equilibrium Analysis of State and Private Colleges and Public Funding Policies," NBER Working Papers 19298, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Zhang, Hongliang, 2016. "The role of testing noise in the estimation of achievement-based peer effects," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 113-123.
    10. Ana Balsa & Néstor Gandelman & Flavia Roldán, 2017. "Peer and parental influence in the development of cognitive skills and predispostion to risky behaviour," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1701, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
    11. Kang, Changhui, 2007. "Classroom peer effects and academic achievement: Quasi-randomization evidence from South Korea," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 458-495, May.
    12. Gordon Winston & David Zimmerman, 2004. "Peer Effects in Higher Education," NBER Chapters, in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 395-424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. repec:mpr:mprres:4324 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Cremer, Helmuth & Maldonado, Dario, 2013. "Mixed oligopoly in education," IDEI Working Papers 766, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    15. Dimant, Eugen, 2019. "Contagion of pro- and anti-social behavior among peers and the role of social proximity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 66-88.
    16. Bonan, Jacopo & Battiston, Pietro & Bleck, Jaimie & LeMay-Boucher, Philippe & Pareglio, Stefano & Sarr, Bassirou & Tavoni, Massimo, 2021. "Social interaction and technology adoption: Experimental evidence from improved cookstoves in Mali," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    17. Silvia Mendolia & Alfredo R Paloyo & Ian Walker, 2018. "Heterogeneous effects of high school peers on educational outcomes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 613-634.
    18. Lugo, Maria Ana, 2011. "Heterogenous peer effects, segregation and academic attainment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5718, The World Bank.
    19. Antonia Grohmann & Sahra Sakha, 2015. "The Effect of Peer Observation on Consumption Choices: Experimental Evidence," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1525, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    20. Michela Tincani, 2017. "Heterogeneous Peer Effects and Rank Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2017-006, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    21. Dennis Epple & Richard Romano & Sinan Sarpça & Holger Sieg & Melanie Zaber, 2019. "Market power and price discrimination in the US market for higher education," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 50(1), pages 201-225, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:22:y:2008:i:3:p:189-206. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.