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Peer Effects in UK Adolescent Substance Use: Never Mind the Classmates?

  • Duncan McVicar

    ()

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • Arnold Polanski

    (School of Economics, University of East Anglia)

This paper estimates peer influences on the alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use of a school based sample of UK 15 year olds. We present evidence of large, positive and statistically significant peer effects in all three behaviours when classmates are taken as the reference group. When friends are taken as the reference group, using self-reports of perceived friends’ substance use, we also find large, positive and statistically significant associations with own substance use. When both reference groups are considered simultaneously, the influence of classmates on own behaviour either disappears or is much reduced in magnitude, whereas the association between own and friends’ behaviours doesn’t change. The suggestion is that classmate behaviour is primarily relevant only inasmuch as it proxies for friends’ behaviour, with classmates that are not also friends having relatively little influence on adolescent substance use.

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Paper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2012n08.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2012n08
Contact details of provider: Postal: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 2100
Fax: +61 3 8344 2111
Web page: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/
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  1. Krauth, Brian V., 2007. "Peer and Selection Effects on Youth Smoking in California," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 288-298, July.
  2. John Micklewright & Sylke V. Schnepf & Pedro N. Silva, 2010. "Peer effects and measurement error: the impact of sampling variation in school survey data," DoQSS Working Papers 10-13, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
  3. Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Peer Effects and Social Networks in Education," IZA Discussion Papers 3859, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Anindya Sen, 2009. "Estimating the impacts of household behavior on youth smoking: evidence from Ontario, Canada," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 189-218, June.
  5. Maria Loureiro & Anna Sanz-de-Galdeano & Daniela Vuri, 2009. "Smoking Habits: Like Father, Like Son, Like Mother, Like Daughter," Working Papers 402, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  6. Anne C. Case & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects of Family and Neighborhood on Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 1995. "A Strategic Model of Social and Economic Networks," Discussion Papers 1098R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Lundborg, Petter, 2006. "Having the wrong friends? Peer effects in adolescent substance use," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 214-233, March.
  9. Griesbach, Dawn & Amos, Amanda & Currie, Candace, 2003. "Adolescent smoking and family structure in Europe," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 41-52, January.
  10. Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2006. "Empirics of the Identification of Social Interactions; An Evaluation of the Approaches and Their Results ," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 193-228, 04.
  11. repec:att:wimass:9127 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Edward C. Norton & Richard C. Lindrooth & Susan T. Ennett, 2003. "How measures of perception from survey data lead to inconsistent regression results: evidence from adolescent and peer substance use," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 139-148.
  13. Daiji Kawaguchi, 2004. "Peer effects on substance use among American teenagers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 351-367, 06.
  14. Peter Kooreman & Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2007. "A discrete-choice model with social interactions: with an application to high school teen behavior," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 599-624.
  15. McVicar, Duncan, 2011. "Estimates of peer effects in adolescent smoking across twenty six European Countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(8), pages 1186-1193.
  16. 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.
  17. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  18. Brian Krauth, 2005. "Peer effects and selection effects on smoking among Canadian youth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 735-757, August.
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