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Bad Apples, Goody Two Shoes and Average Joes: The Role of Peer Group Definitions in Estimation of Peer Effects

  • Timothy J. Halliday

    ()

    (Department of Economics & John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa)

  • Sally Kwak

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)

The potential influence of peers and social networks on individual outcomes is important to a variety of educational policy debates including school vouchers, special education, middle school grade configurations and tracking. Researchers usually address the identification problems associated with credibly estimating peer effects in these settings but often do not account for ad-hoc definitions of peer-groups. In this paper, we use extensive information on peer groups to demonstrate that accurate definitions of the peer network seriously impact estimation of peer effects. We estimate the effect of peers’ smoking, drinking, sexual behavior and educational achievement on a teen’s propensity to engage in like-minded behavior and address the major identification problems that plague estimation of these effects.

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File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/WP_07-30.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
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Paper provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 200730.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:200730
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  1. 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.
  2. Arcidiacono, Peter & Nicholson, Sean, 2005. "Peer effects in medical school," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 327-350, February.
  3. Mary Burke & Tim R. Sass, 2011. "Classroom peer effects and student achievement," Public Policy Discussion Paper 11-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  4. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Jacob M. Markman & Steven G. Rivkin, 2001. "Does Peer Ability Affect Student Achievement?," NBER Working Papers 8502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Risky Behavior Among Youths: An Economic Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Diane Whitmore, 2005. "Resource and Peer Impacts on Girls' Academic Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 199-203, May.
  7. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  8. repec:att:wimass:9217 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Lefgren, Lars, 2004. "Educational peer effects and the Chicago public schools," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 169-191, September.
  10. Mas, Alexandre & Moretti, Enrico, 2006. "Peers at Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 5870, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Mayer, Adalbert & Puller, Steven L., 2008. "The old boy (and girl) network: Social network formation on university campuses," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 329-347, February.
  13. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 1998. "Does Special Education Raise Academic Achievement for Students with Disabilities?," NBER Working Papers 6690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2006. "The Effect of School Choice on Participants: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1191-1230, 09.
  15. Victor Lavy & M. Daniele Paserman & Analia Schlosser, 2008. "Inside the Black of Box of Ability Peer Effects: Evidence from Variation in the Proportion of Low Achievers in the Classroom," NBER Working Papers 14415, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Kelly Bedard & Chau Do, 2005. "Are Middle Schools More Effective?: The Impact of School Structure on Student Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
  17. Alejandro Gaviria & Steven Raphael, 2001. "School-Based Peer Effects And Juvenile Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 257-268, May.
  18. Angrist, Joshua & Lang, Kevin, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," IZA Discussion Papers 976, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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