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Peer Effects in Adolescent Cannabis Use: It's the Friends, Stupid

  • John Moriarty

    (Institute of Child Care Research, Queen's University Belfast)

  • Duncan McVicar

    ()

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

  • Kathryn Higgins

    (School of Sociology, Social Policy, and Social Work, Queen's University Belfast)

This paper examines peer effects in adolescent cannabis use from several different reference groups, exploiting survey data that have many desirable properties and have not previously been used for this purpose. Treating the school grade as the reference group, and using both neighbourhood fixed effects and IV for identification, we find evidence of large, positive, and statistically significant peer effects. Treating nominated friends as the reference group, and using both school fixed effects and IV for identification, we again find evidence of large, positive, and generally statistically significant peer effects. Our preferred IV approach exploits information about friends of friends – ‘friends once removed’, who are not themselves friends – to instrument for friends’ cannabis use. Finally, we examine whether the cannabis use of schoolmates who are not nominated as friends – ‘non-friends’ – influences own cannabis use. Once again using neighbourhood fixed effects and IV for identification, the evidence suggests zero impact. In our data, schoolmates who are not also friends have no influence on adolescent cannabis use.

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File URL: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/downloads/working_paper_series/wp2012n27.pdf
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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 wp2012n27.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2012n27
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. 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.
  2. Daiji Kawaguchi, 2004. "Peer effects on substance use among American teenagers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 351-367, 06.
  3. van Ours, J.C. & Williams, J., 2007. "Why Parents Worry : Initiation into Cannabis use by Youth and their Educational Attainment," Discussion Paper 2007-60, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  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. Soetevent, Adriaan R. & Kooreman, Peter, 2004. "A discrete choice model with social interactions; with an application to high school teen behavior," CCSO Working Papers 200401, University of Groningen, CCSO Centre for Economic Research.
  6. Duncan McVicar, 2012. "Cross Country Estimates of Peer Effects in Adolescent Smoking Using IV and School Fixed Effects," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2012n07, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  7. 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).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. van Ours, Jan C. & Williams, Jenny, 2009. "Why parents worry: Initiation into cannabis use by youth and their educational attainment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 132-142, January.
  11. 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.
  12. Duncan McVicar & Arnold Polanski, 2014. "Peer Effects in UK Adolescent Substance Use: Never Mind the Classmates?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 76(4), pages 589-604, 08.
  13. Clark, Andrew E. & Loheac, Youenn, 2007. ""It wasn't me, it was them!" Social influence in risky behavior by adolescents," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 763-784, July.
  14. Brian Krauth, 2004. "Peer and selection effects on youth smoking in California," HEW 0408002, EconWPA.
  15. Jason M. Fletcher, 2010. "Social interactions and smoking: evidence using multiple student cohorts, instrumental variables, and school fixed effects," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 466-484.
  16. 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.
  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. Lefgren, Lars, 2004. "Educational peer effects and the Chicago public schools," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 169-191, September.
  19. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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