Does fertility behavior spread among friends?
This paper investigates how social interactions among friends shape fertility. We specifically examine whether and how friends√≠ fertility behaviour affects an individual√≠s transition to parenthood. By integrating insights from economic and sociological theories, we elaborate on the mechanisms via which interactions among friends might affect an individual√≠s risk of becoming a parent. By exploiting the survey design of the Add Health data, we follow a strategy that allows us to properly identify interaction effects and distinguish them from selection and contextual effects. We engage in a series of discrete time event history models with random effect at the dyadic level. Results show that, net of confounding effects, a friend√≠s childbearing increases an individual√≠s risk of becoming a parent. We find a short-term, curvilinear effect: an individual√≠s risk of childbearing starts increasing after a friend√≠s childbearing, it reaches its peak around two years later, and then decreases.
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