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

Author

Listed:
  • 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy J. Halliday & Sally Kwak, 2007. "Bad Apples, Goody Two Shoes and Average Joes: The Role of Peer Group Definitions in Estimation of Peer Effects," Working Papers 200730, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:200730
    as

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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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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Peer Effects; Education; Adolescent Health;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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