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What is a peer? The role of network definitions in estimation of endogenous peer effects

Author

Listed:
  • Timothy J. Halliday
  • Sally Kwak

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 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent 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 network seriously impact estimation of peer effects. In particular, we show that peer effects estimates on educational achievement, smoking 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy J. Halliday & Sally Kwak, 2012. "What is a peer? The role of network definitions in estimation of endogenous peer effects," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(3), pages 289-302, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:44:y:2012:i:3:p:289-302
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2010.505557
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mary A. Burke & Tim R. Sass, 2013. "Classroom Peer Effects and Student Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 51-82.
    2. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bruce A. Weinberg, 2007. "Social Interactions with Endogenous Associations," NBER Working Papers 13038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ajilore, Olugbenga & Amialchuk, Aliaksandr & Egan, Keven, 2016. "Alcohol consumption by youth: Peers, parents, or prices?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 76-83.
    2. Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "Social Interactions within Cities: Neighborhood Environments and Peer Relationships," Working papers 2009-31, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    3. Son Thierry Ly & Arnaud Riegert, 2014. "Persistent Classmates: How Familiarity with Peers Protects from Disruptive School Transitions," PSE Working Papers halshs-00842265, HAL.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:bpj:bejeap:v:17:y:2017:i:3:p:10:n:9 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Kiss David, 2017. "A Model about the Impact of Ability Grouping on Student Achievement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 17(3), pages 1-10, July.
    7. Moriarty, John & McVicar, Duncan & Higgins, Kathryn, 2016. "Cross-section and panel estimates of peer effects in early adolescent cannabis use: With a little help from my ‘friends once removed’," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 37-44.
    8. Bet Caeyers & Marcel Fafchamps, 2016. "Exclusion Bias in the Estimation of Peer Effects," NBER Working Papers 22565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Halliday, Timothy J. & Kwak, Sally, 2009. "Weight gain in adolescents and their peers," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 181-190, July.
    10. Trogdon, Justin G. & Allaire, Benjamin T., 2014. "The effect of friend selection on social influences in obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 153-164.
    11. Son Thierry Ly & Arnaud Riegert, 2014. "Persistent Classmates: How Familiarity with Peers Protects from Disruptive School Transitions," Working Papers halshs-00842265, HAL.
    12. repec:taf:vjerxx:v:109:y:2016:i:1:p:37-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. 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.
    14. BARONE, Adriana & NESE, Annamaria, 2014. "Body Weight and Academic Performance: Gender and Peer Effects," CELPE Discussion Papers 129, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    15. 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.
    16. Olugbenga Ajilore, 2015. "Identifying peer effects using spatial analysis: the role of peers on risky sexual behavior," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 635-652, September.
    17. Josep-Oriol Escardíbul & Toni Mora & Anna Villarroya, 2013. "Peer effects on youth screen media consumption in Catalonia (Spain)," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 37(2), pages 185-201, May.
    18. repec:oxf:wpaper:wps/2014-05 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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