IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Peer Effects In Program Participation

The influence of peers could play an important role in the take up of social programs. However, estimating peer effects has proven challenging given the problems of reflection, correlated unobservables, and endogenous group membership. We overcome these identification issues in the context of paid paternity leave in Norway using a regression discontinuity design. In an attempt to promote gender equality, a reform made fathers of children born after April 1, 1993 in Norway eligible for one month of governmental paid paternity leave. Fathers of children born before this cutoff were not eligible. There is a sharp increase in fathers taking paternity leave immediately after the reform, with take up rising from 3% to 35%. While this quasi-random variation changed the cost of paternity leave for some fathers and not others, it did not directly affect the cost for the father’s coworkers or brothers. Therefore, any effect on the coworker or brother can be attributed to the influence of the peer father in their network. Our key findings on peer effects are four-fold. First, we find strong evidence for substantial peer effects of program participation in both workplace and family networks. Coworkers and brothers are 11 and 15 percentage points, respectively, more likely to take paternity leave if their peer father was induced to take up leave by the reform. Second, the most likely mechanism is information transmission about costs and benefits, including increased knowledge of how an employer will react. Third, there is essential heterogeneity in the size of the peer effect depending on the strength of ties between peers, highlighting the importance of duration, intensity, and frequency of social interactions. Fourth, the estimated peer effect gets amplified over time, with each subsequent birth exhibiting a snowball effect as the original peer father’s influence cascades through a firm. Our findings demonstrate that peer effects can lead to long-run equilibrium participation rates which are substantially higher than would otherwise be expected.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Bergen, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 12/12.

in new window

Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: 11 Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:bergec:2012_012
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Institutt for økonomi, Universitetet i Bergen, Postboks 7802, 5020 Bergen, Norway

Phone: (+47)55589200
Fax: (+47)55589210
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Weili Ding & Steven Lehrer, 2005. "Do Peers Affect Student Achievement in China's Secondary Schools?," Working Papers 1047, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Monstad, Karin & Propper, Carol & Salvanes, Kjell G, 2011. "Is teenage motherhood contagious? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 8505, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Mari Rege & Kjetil Telle & Mark Votruba, 2012. "Social Interaction Effects in Disability Pension Participation: Evidence from Plant Downsizing," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1208-1239, December.
  4. Emmanuel Saez & Esther Duflo, 2003. "The role of information and social interactions in retirement plan decisions: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00141, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  6. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2009. "Social Connections and Incentives in the Workplace: Evidence from Personnel Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 7114, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Gustavo J. Bobonis & Frederico Finan, 2009. "Neighborhood Peer Effects in Secondary School Enrollment Decisions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 695-716, November.
  8. Sara Cools & Jon H. Fiva & Lars Johannessen Kirkebøen, 2011. "Causal effects of paternity leave on children and parents," Discussion Papers 657, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  9. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 1999. "Network Effects and Welfare Cultures," JCPR Working Papers 62, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  10. Peter Kuhn & Peter Kooreman & Adriaan Soetevent & Arie Kapteyn, 2011. "The Effects of Lottery Prizes on Winners and Their Neighbors: Evidence from the Dutch Postcode Lottery," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2226-47, August.
  11. Scott E. Carrell & Richard L. Fullerton & James E. West, 2009. "Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 439-464, 07.
  12. Scott E. Carrell & Frederick V. Malmstrom & James E. West, 2008. "Peer Effects in Academic Cheating," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
  13. 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.
  14. Scott A. Imberman & Adriana D. Kugler & Bruce I. Sacerdote, 2012. "Katrina's Children: Evidence on the Structure of Peer Effects from Hurricane Evacuees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2048-82, August.
  15. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2010. "Optimal bandwidth choice for the regression discontinuity estimator," CeMMAP working papers CWP05/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  16. Manuela Angelucci & Giacomo De Giorgi & Marcos A. Rangel & Imran Rasul, 2009. "Family Networks and School Enrolment: Evidence from a Randomized Social Experiment," NBER Working Papers 14949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Oriana Bandiera & Imran Rasul, 2006. "Social Networks and Technology Adoption in Northern Mozambique," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 869-902, October.
  18. Noam Yuchtman & Florian Ederer & Bruno Ferman & Leonardo Bursztyn, 2013. "Understanding Peer Effects in Financial Decisions: Evidence from a Field Experiment," 2013 Meeting Papers 222, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  19. Lawrence F. Katz & Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Moving to Opportunity in Boston: Early Results of a Randomized Mobility Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 607-654.
  20. Sarah Baird & Aislinn Bohren & Berk Ozler & Craig McIntosh, 2014. "Designing Experiments to Measure Spillover Effects," Working Papers 2014-11, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  21. Rafael Lalive & Alejandra Cattaneo, 2006. "Social Interactions and Schooling Decisions," CESifo Working Paper Series 1787, CESifo Group Munich.
  22. repec:pit:wpaper:343 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Jens Ludwig & Greg J. Duncan & Paul Hirschfield, 2001. "Urban Poverty and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Randomized Housing-Mobility Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 655-679.
  24. Eric Maurin & Julie Moschion, 2006. "The social multiplier and labour market participation of mothers," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00117042, HAL.
  25. Philip Babcock & Kelly Bedard & Gary Charness & John Hartman & Heather Royer, 2011. "Letting Down the Team? Evidence of Social Effects of Team Incentives," NBER Working Papers 16687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," NBER Working Papers 14723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Hensvik, Lena & Nilsson, Peter, 2010. "Businesses, buddies and babies: social ties and fertility at work," Working Paper Series 2010:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  28. Scott E. Carrell & Mark Hoekstra & James E. West, 2010. "Is Poor Fitness Contagious? Evidence from Randomly Assigned Friends," NBER Working Papers 16518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Scott E. Carrell & Bruce I. Sacerdote & James E. West, 2011. "From Natural Variation to Optimal Policy? The Lucas Critique Meets Peer Effects," NBER Working Papers 16865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Manuela Angelucci & Giacomo De Giorgi, 2009. "Indirect Effects of an Aid Program: How Do Cash Transfers Affect Ineligibles' Consumption?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 486-508, March.
  31. Brian A. Jacob, 2004. "Public Housing, Housing Vouchers, and Student Achievement: Evidence from Public Housing Demolitions in Chicago," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 233-258, March.
  32. Scott E. Carrell & Mark L. Hoekstra, 2008. "Externalities in the Classroom: How Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Affect Everyone's Kids," NBER Working Papers 14246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Anna Aizer & Janet Currie, 2002. "Networks or Neighborhoods? Correlations in the Use of Publicly-Funded Maternity Care in California," NBER Working Papers 9209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Stacy Dickert-Conlin & Amitabh Chandra, 1999. "Taxes and the Timing of Birth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 161-177, February.
  35. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:bergec:2012_012. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kjell Erik Lommerud)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.