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Networks and Workouts: Treatment Size and Status Specific Peer Effects in a Randomized Field Experiment

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  • Philip S. Babcock
  • John L. Hartman

Abstract

This paper estimates treatment size and status specific peer effects that are not detected by widely-used approaches to the estimation of spillovers. In a field experiment using university students, we find that subjects who have been incentivized to exercise increase gym usage more if they have more treated friends. However, control subjects are not influenced by their peers. Findings demonstrate that fraction treated has a large influence on outcomes in this environment, and spillovers vary greatly by treatment status. Results highlight subtle effects of randomization and document a low-cost method for improving the generalizability of controlled interventions in networked environments.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip S. Babcock & John L. Hartman, 2010. "Networks and Workouts: Treatment Size and Status Specific Peer Effects in a Randomized Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 16581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16581
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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