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School ties: An analysis of homophily in an adolescent friendship network

  • Simon Burgess
  • Eleanor Sanderson
  • Marcela Umana-Aponte

    ()

Homophily is the tendency to establish relationships among people who share similar characteristics or attributes. This study presents evidence of homophilic behaviour for an adolescent friendship network of 6,961 links in the West of England. We control for unobserved characteristics by estimating school and individual fixed effects and present evidence on the role of length and closeness of friendships on the degree of homophily. We also exploit the dynamics of the friendship by comparing similarities among existing and future friends. Results indicate that academic achievement, personality, educational aspirations, bad behaviour and mother’s education are essential in the friendship formation process. However, income and parents’ occupational class proved to be insignificant. We also show that the degree of homophily among friends selected from a random process is much lower than that of the observed friendships.

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File URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2011/wp267.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 11/267.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:11/267
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  1. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Matthew O. Jackson, 2009. "Like Father, Like Son: Social Network Externalities and Parent-Child Correlation in Behavior," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 124-50, February.
  2. Andrea Galeotti & Christian Ghiglino & Francesco Squintani, 2009. "Strategic Information Transmission in Networks," Economics Discussion Papers 668, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  3. Jacob K. Goeree & Margaret A. McConnell & Tiffany Mitchell & Tracey Tromp & Leeat Yariv, 2010. "The 1/d Law of Giving," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 183-203, February.
  4. Paul Gregg & Carol Propper & Elizabeth Washbrook, 2008. "Understanding the Relationship between Parental Income and Multiple Child Outcomes: a decomposition analysis," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 08/193, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  5. Sergio Currarini & Paolo Pin & Matthew O. Jackson, 2007. "An Economic Model of Friendship: Homophily, Minorities and Segregation," Working Papers 2007_20, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
  6. Matt Jackson, 2003. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," Theory workshop papers 658612000000000032, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. David Marmaros & Bruce Sacerdote, 2006. "How Do Friendships Form?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 79-119, 02.
  8. Gunter J. Hitsch & Ali Horta�su & Dan Ariely, 2010. "Matching and Sorting in Online Dating," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 130-63, March.
  9. Lundborg, Petter, 2006. "Having the wrong friends? Peer effects in adolescent substance use," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 214-233, March.
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