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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 2226-2247, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Angelucci, Manuela & Prina, Silvia & Royer, Heather & Samek, Anya, 2015. "When Incentives Backfire: Spillover Effects in Food Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 9288, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. 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.
    3. Goulão Catarina & Thibault Emmanuel, 2013. "Physical Activity and Policy Recommendations: A Social Multiplier Approach," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(2), pages 577-612, November.
    4. Downward, Paul & Rasciute, Simona, 2016. "‘No man is an island entire of itself.’ The hidden effect of peers on physical activity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 149-156.
    5. Magnan, Nicholas & Spielman, David J. & Gulati, Kajal & Lybbert, Travis J., 2015. "Information networks among women and men and the demand for an agricultural technology in India:," IFPRI discussion papers 1411, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Hahn, Youjin & Islam, Asadul & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2015. "Network Structure and Education Outcomes: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 8872, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Youjin Hahn & Asadul Islam & Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2015. "Teams, Organization and Education Outcomes: Evidence from a field experiment in Bangladesh," Monash Economics Working Papers 35-15, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    8. Cabane Charlotte & Lechner Michael, 2015. "Physical Activity of Adults: A Survey of Correlates, Determinants, and Effects," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 235(4-5), pages 376-402, August.
    9. Magnan, Nicholas & Spielman, David J. & Lybbert, Travis J. & Gulati, Kajal, 2015. "Leveling with friends: Social networks and Indian farmers' demand for a technology with heterogeneous benefits," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 223-251.
    10. Boucher, Vincent & Fortin, Bernard, 2015. "Some Challenges in the Empirics of the Effects of Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 8896, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Patrizia Lattarulo & Marco Mariani & Laura Razzolini, 2017. "Nudging museums attendance: a field experiment with high school teens," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 41(3), pages 259-277, August.
    12. Carrera, Mariana & Royer, Heather & Stehr, Mark & Syndor, Justin, 2017. "Can Financial Incentives Help People Trying to Establish New Habits? Experimental Evidence with New Gym Members," IZA Discussion Papers 10874, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Mariana Carrera & Heather Royer & Mark F. Stehr & Justin R. Sydnor, 2017. "The Structure of Health Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 23188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Julie Le Gallo & Yannick L'Horty & Pascale Petit, 2014. "Does subsidising young people to learn to drive promote social inclusion? Evidence from a large controlled experiment in France," TEPP Working Paper 2014-15, TEPP.
    15. Le Gallo, Julie & L'Horty, Yannick & Petit, Pascale, 2017. "Does enhanced mobility of young people improve employment and housing outcomes? Evidence from a large and controlled experiment in France," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 1-14.
    16. repec:eee:socmed:v:192:y:2017:i:c:p:18-27 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Magnan, Nicholas & Spielman, David J. & Gulati, Kajal, 2013. "Female social networks and learning about a new technology in eastern Uttar Pradesh, India," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150688, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    18. Mariana Carrera & Heather Royer & Mark Stehr & Justin Sydnor, 2017. "Can Financial Incentives Help People Trying to Establish New Habits? Experimental Evidence with New Gym Members," NBER Working Papers 23567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Magnan, Nicholas & Spielman, David J. & Gulati, Kajal & Lybbert, Travis, 2015. "Information Networks among Women and Men and the Demand for an Agricultural Technology in India," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212209, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    20. Kießling, Lukas & Radbruch, Jonas & Schaube, Sebastian, 2018. "The Impact of Self-Selection on Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 11365, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    21. Nicholas Magnan & David J Spielman & Travis J. Lybbert & Kajal Gulati, 2013. "Leveling with Friends: Social Networks and Indian Farmers’ Demand for Agricultural Custom Hire Services," Working Papers id:5591, eSocialSciences.
    22. Yann Algan & Quoc-Anh Do & Nicolò Dalvit & Alexis Le Chapelain & Yves Zenou, 2015. "How Social Networks Shape Our Beliefs: A Natural Experiment among Future French Politicians," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/78vacv4udu9, Sciences Po.
    23. repec:kap:theord:v:83:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11238-017-9625-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Ryota Nakamura & Marc Suhrcke & Daniel John Zizzo, 2017. "A triple test for behavioral economics models and public health policy," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 83(4), pages 513-533, December.

    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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