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The Social Multiplier

  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Bruce I. Sacerdote
  • Jose A. Scheinkman

In many cases, aggregate data is used to make inferences about individual level behavior. If there are social interactions in which one person's actions influence his neighbor's incentives or information, then these inferences are inappropriate. The presence of positive social interactions, or strategic complementarities, implies the existence of a social multiplier where aggregate relationships will overstate individual elasticities. We present a brief model and then estimate the size of the social multiplier in three areas: the impact of education on wages, the impact of demographics on crime and group membership among Dartmouth roommates. In all three areas there appears to be a significant social multiplier.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9153.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9153.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Publication status: published as Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce I. Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2003. "The Social Multiplier," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 345-353, 04/05.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9153
Note: LE LS PE
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  1. Lawrence Katz & B. Jeffrey Liebman, 2000. "Moving to Opportunity in Boston: Early Results of a Randomized Mobility Experiment," Working Papers 820, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  3. Brock, William A & Durlauf, Steven N, 2001. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 235-60, April.
  4. Glaeser, Edward L & Sacerdote, Bruce & Scheinkman, Jose A, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-48, May.
  5. James E. Rauch, 1991. "Productivity Gains From Geographic Concentration of human Capital: Evidence From the Cities," NBER Working Papers 3905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Manski, C.F., 1991. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: the Reflection Problem," Working papers 9127, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  7. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jens Otto Ludwig & Greg Duncan & Paul Hirschfield, 2000. "Urban Poverty and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Randomized Housing-Mobility Experiment," JCPR Working Papers 158, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  9. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1999. "How Large are the Social Returns to Education? Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws," NBER Working Papers 7444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Edward L. Glaeser & Jose Scheinkman, 2000. "Non-Market Interactions," NBER Working Papers 8053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2000. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," NBER Working Papers 7527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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