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Unpacking social interactions


  • Ethan Cohen-Cole
  • Giulio Zanella


As empirical work in identifying social effects becomes more prevalent, researchers are beginning to struggle with identifying the composition of social interactions within any given reference group. In this paper, we present a simple econometric methodology for the separate identification of multiple social interactions. The setting under which we achieve separation is special, but is likely to be appropriate in many applications.

Suggested Citation

  • Ethan Cohen-Cole & Giulio Zanella, 2007. "Unpacking social interactions," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU07-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbqu:qau07-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N., 2001. "Interactions-based models," Handbook of Econometrics,in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 54, pages 3297-3380 Elsevier.
    2. Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti, 2009. "Peers at Work," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 112-145, March.
    3. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2000. "Network Effects and Welfare Cultures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1019-1055.
    4. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 115-136, Summer.
    5. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
    6. Aizer, Anna & Currie, Janet, 2004. "Networks or neighborhoods? Correlations in the use of publicly-funded maternity care in California," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2573-2585, December.
    7. Iyer, S. & Weeks, M., 2004. "Multiple Social Interaction and Reproductive Externalities: An Investigation of Fertility Behaviour in Kenya," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0461, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    8. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
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    Cited by:

    1. Franco Peracchi & Claudio Rossetti, 2013. "The heterogeneous thresholds ordered response model: identification and inference," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 176(3), pages 703-722, June.
    2. Ethan Cohen-Cole & Giulio Zanella, 2008. "Welfare Stigma or Information Sharing? Decomposing Social Interactions Effects in Social Benefit Use," Department of Economics University of Siena 531, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    3. Ethan Cohen-Cole & Andrei Kirilenko & Eleonora Patacchini, 2010. "Are Networks Priced? Network Topology and Order Trading Strategies in High Liquidity Markets," EIEF Working Papers Series 1011, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Apr 2010.
    4. Mikko Packalen, 2010. "Identification and Estimation of Social Interactions through Variation in Equilibrium Influence," Working Papers 1013, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2010.
    5. Ethan Cohen-Cole & Burcu Duygan-Bump, 2008. "Household bankruptcy decision: the role of social stigma vs. information sharing," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU08-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

    More about this item


    Social choice;

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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