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

Author

Listed:
  • 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • John Moriarty & Duncan McVicar & Kathryn Higgins, 2012. "Peer Effects in Adolescent Cannabis Use: It's the Friends, Stupid," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2012n27, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2012n27
    as

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    File URL: http://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/downloads/working_paper_series/wp2012n27.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    3. 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.
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    5. Daiji Kawaguchi, 2004. "Peer effects on substance use among American teenagers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(2), pages 351-367, June.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Peer effects; reference groups; cannabis; adolescents; friends;

    JEL classification:

    • I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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