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Searching for Peer Group Effects: A Test of the Contagion Hypothesis

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  • Laura M. Argys

    (University of Colorado Denver)

  • Daniel I. Rees

    (University of Colorado Denver)

Abstract

Using information on birth and kindergarten start dates to generate an exogenous measure of the relative age of a student's peer group, we find that, controlling for age, females with older peers are more likely to use substances than females with younger peers. Because there is no reason to suspect that birth and kindergarten start dates should be correlated with the choice of school, the socioeconomic status of a child's peers, or neighborhood unobservables, we view our results with regard to females as providing support for the idea that peer behavior can be contagious. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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  • Laura M. Argys & Daniel I. Rees, 2008. "Searching for Peer Group Effects: A Test of the Contagion Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 442-458, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:90:y:2008:i:3:p:442-458
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    Cited by:

    1. Fabio Landini & Natalia Montinari & Paolo Pin & Marco Piovesan, 2014. "Friendship Network in the Classroom: Parents Bias and Peer Effects," Discussion Papers 14-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    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. Bronchetti, Erin Todd & Huffman, David B. & Magenheim, Ellen, 2015. "Attention, intentions, and follow-through in preventive health behavior: Field experimental evidence on flu vaccination," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 270-291.
    4. Fuhrer, Jeff & Tootell, Geoff, 2008. "Eyes on the prize: How did the fed respond to the stock market?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, pages 796-805.
    5. Howard, Larry L., 2011. "Does food insecurity at home affect non-cognitive performance at school? A longitudinal analysis of elementary student classroom behavior," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 157-176, February.
    6. David Card & Laura Giuliano, 2013. "Peer Effects and Multiple Equilibria in the Risky Behavior of Friends," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1130-1149, October.
    7. Kelly Bedard & Elizabeth Dhuey, 2012. "School-Entry Policies and Skill Accumulation Across Directly and Indirectly Affected Individuals," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(3), pages 643-683.
    8. Landini, Fabio & Montinari, Natalia & Pin, Paolo & Piovesan, Marco, 2016. "Friendship network in the classroom: Parents bias on peer effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 56-73.
    9. Webbink, Dinand & Martin, Nicholas G. & Visscher, Peter M., 2010. "Does education reduce the probability of being overweight?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 29-38, January.
    10. Miklós Koren & Silvana Tenreyro, 2013. "Technological Diversification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 378-414.
    11. Bahrs, Michael & Schumann, Mathias, 2016. "Unlucky to Be Young? The Long-Term Effects of School Starting Age on Smoking Behaviour and Health," hche Research Papers 2016/13, University of Hamburg, Hamburg Center for Health Economics (hche).
    12. Jason M. Fletcher & Stephen L. Ross & Yuxiu Zhang, 2013. "The Determinants and Consequences of Friendship Composition," NBER Working Papers 19215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Charles L. Baum, 2017. "The Effects of College on Weight: Examining the “Freshman 15” Myth and Other Effects of College Over the Life Cycle," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(1), pages 311-336, February.
    14. 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.
    15. Elsner, Benjamin & Isphording, Ingo E., 2015. "Rank, Sex, Drugs, and Crime," IZA Discussion Papers 9478, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Susan Averett & Laura Argys & Daniel Rees, 2011. "Older siblings and adolescent risky behavior: does parenting play a role?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 957-978.
    17. Chih-Sheng Hsieh & Hans van Kippersluis, 2015. "Smoking Initiation: Peers and Personality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-093/V, Tinbergen Institute.

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