IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Peer Effects and Multiple Equilibria in the Risky Behavior of Friends

  • David Card
  • Laura Giuliano

We study social interactions in the risky behavior of best-friend pairs in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Focusing on friends who had not yet initiated a particular behavior (sex, smoking, marijuana use, truancy) by the first wave of the survey, we estimate bivariate discrete choice models for their subsequent decisions that include peer effects and unobserved heterogeneity. Social interactions can lead to multiple equilibria in friends' choices: we consider simple equilibrium selection models as well as partial likelihood models that remain agnostic about the choice of equilibrium. Our identification strategy assumes that there is at least one individual characteristic (e.g., physical development) that does not directly affect a friend's propensity to engage in a risky activity. Our estimates suggest that patterns of initiation of risky behavior by adolescent friends exhibit significant interaction effects. The likelihood that one friend initiates intercourse within a year of the baseline interview increases by 4 percentage points (on a base of 14%) if the other also initiates intercourse, holding constant family and individual factors. Similar effects are also present for smoking, marijuana use, and truancy. We find larger peer effects for females and for pairs that are more likely to remain best friends after a year. We also find important asymmetries in the strength of the peer effects in non-reciprocated friendships.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17088.

in new window

Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as David Card & Laura Giuliano, 2013. "Peer Effects and Multiple Equilibria in the Risky Behavior of Friends," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1130-1149, October.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17088
Note: CH LS
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Patrick Bajari & Han Hong & Stephen Ryan, 2004. "Identification and Estimation of Discrete Games of Complete Information," NBER Technical Working Papers 0301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ciliberto, Federico & Tamer, Elie, 2009. "Market structure and multiple equilibria in airline markets," MPRA Paper 38635, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Scott E. Carrell & Bruce I. Sacerdote & James E. West, 2011. "From Natural Variation to Optimal Policy? The Lucas Critique Meets Peer Effects," NBER Working Papers 16865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bramoullé, Yann & Djebbari, Habiba & Fortin, Bernard, 2009. "Identification of peer effects through social networks," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 150(1), pages 41-55, May.
  5. Brian Krauth, 2004. "Simulation-based estimation of peer effects," Econometrics 0408002, EconWPA.
  6. Zimmerman, David J., 1999. "Peer Effects in Academic Outcomes: Evidence From a Natural Experiment," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-52, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  7. Scott E. Carrell & Richard L. Fullerton & James E. West, 2008. "Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement," NBER Working Papers 14032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Giacomo De Giorgi & Michele Pellizzari & Silvia Redaelli, 2010. "Identification of Social Interactions through Partially Overlapping Peer Groups," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 241-75, April.
  9. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Reiss, Peter C., 1991. "Empirical models of discrete games," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1-2), pages 57-81.
  10. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2005. "What Can Be Learned About Peer Effects Using College Roommates? Evidence From New Survey Data and Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20054, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  11. Ching-I Huang, 2013. "Intra-household effects on demand for telephone service: Empirical evidence," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 231-261, June.
  12. Halliday, Timothy J. & Kwak, Sally, 2009. "Weight gain in adolescents and their peers," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 181-190, July.
  13. Dean R. Hyslop, 1999. "State Dependence, Serial Correlation and Heterogeneity in Intertemporal Labor Force Participation of Married Women," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(6), pages 1255-1294, November.
  14. Brian Krauth, 2004. "Peer and selection effects on youth smoking in California," HEW 0408002, EconWPA.
  15. Elie Tamer, 2003. "Incomplete Simultaneous Discrete Response Model with Multiple Equilibria," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 147-165, January.
  16. Laura M. Argys & Daniel I. Rees, 2008. "Searching for Peer Group Effects: A Test of the Contagion Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 442-458, August.
  17. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Paul Torelli, 2005. "An Empirical Analysis of 'Acting White'," NBER Working Papers 11334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17088. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.