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Does the rotten child spoil his companion? Spatial peer effects among children in rural India

Listed author(s):
  • Christian Helmers
  • Manasa Patnam

This paper identifies the effect of neighborhood peer groups on childhood skill acquisition using observational data. We incorporate spatial peer interaction, defined as a child's nearest geographical neighbors, into a production function of child cognitive development in Andhra Pradesh, India. Our peer group definition takes the form of networks, whose structure allows us to identify endogenous peer effects and contextual effects separately. We exploit variation over time to avoid confounding correlated with social effects. Our results suggest that spatial peer and neighborhood effects are strongly positively associated with a child's cognitive skill formation. Further, we explore the effect of peer groups in helping to provide insurance against the negative impact of idiosyncratic shocks to child learning. We find that the data reject full risk‐sharing, but cannot rule out the existence of partial risk‐sharing on behalf of peers. We show that peer effects are robust to different specifications of peer interactions and investigate the sensitivity of our estimates to potential misspecification of the network structure using Monte Carlo experiments.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/quan.2014.5.issue-1.x
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Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Quantitative Economics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2014)
Issue (Month): (03)
Pages: 67-121

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Handle: RePEc:wly:quante:v:5:y:2014:i::p:67-121
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  1. Kelejian, Harry H & Prucha, Ingmar R, 1999. "A Generalized Moments Estimator for the Autoregressive Parameter in a Spatial Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(2), pages 509-533, May.
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  3. Jacob M. Markman & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2003. "Does peer ability affect student achievement?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 527-544.
  4. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters,in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bramoullé, Yann & Djebbari, Habiba & Fortin, Bernard, 2009. "Identification of peer effects through social networks," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 150(1), pages 41-55, May.
  6. Luc Anselin & Nancy Lozano-Gracia, 2008. "Errors in variables and spatial effects in hedonic house price models of ambient air quality," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 5-34, February.
  7. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
  8. 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..
  9. Kelejian, Harry H & Prucha, Ingmar R, 1998. "A Generalized Spatial Two-Stage Least Squares Procedure for Estimating a Spatial Autoregressive Model with Autoregressive Disturbances," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 99-121, July.
  10. Patrick Bayer & Stephen L. Ross & Giorgio Topa, 2008. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1150-1196, December.
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  13. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  14. Kelejian, Harry H. & Prucha, Ingmar R., 2007. "HAC estimation in a spatial framework," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 131-154, September.
  15. Paul Gertler & Jonathan Gruber, 2002. "Insuring Consumption Against Illness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 51-70, March.
  16. Rita Ginja, 2010. "Income Shocks and Investments in Human Capital," 2010 Meeting Papers 1165, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Blume,L.E. & Durlauf,S.N., 2005. "Identifying social interactions : a review," Working papers 12, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  18. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-591, May.
  19. Giacomo De Giorgi & Michele Pellizzari & Silvia Redaelli, 2010. "Identification of Social Interactions through Partially Overlapping Peer Groups," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 241-275, April.
  20. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  21. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, 05.
  22. Gustavo J. Bobonis & Frederico Finan, 2009. "Neighborhood Peer Effects in Secondary School Enrollment Decisions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 695-716, November.
  23. Fafchamps, Marcel & Vicente, Pedro C., 2013. "Political violence and social networks: Experimental evidence from a Nigerian election," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 27-48.
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