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Peer Effects in Sexual Initiation: Separating Demand and Supply Mechanisms

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  • Seth Richards-Shubik

    () (H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University)

Abstract

Most work on social interactions studies a single, composite effect of interactions within a group. Yet in the case of sexual initiation, there are two distinct social mechanisms - peer-group norms and partner availability with separate effects and different potential interventions. Here I develop an equilibrium search and matching model for first sexual partners that specifies distinct roles for these two mechanisms as part of demand and supply. I estimate the model using a national sample of high school students, with data over time on individual virginity status. The results indicate that peer-group norms have a large effect on the timing of sexual initiation for both boys and girls. Changes in opposite-gender search behavior (i.e., partner availability) also have a large impact on initiation rates for boys, but not for girls. The existence of a composite effect of social interactions is also confirmed using a standard method: instrumental variables estimation of linear regressions.

Suggested Citation

  • Seth Richards-Shubik, 2012. "Peer Effects in Sexual Initiation: Separating Demand and Supply Mechanisms," PIER Working Paper Archive 12-015, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:12-015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Atencio & Darwin Cortés & Juan Miguel Gallego & Darío Maldonado, 2015. "School Management and Sexual Behavior of Teenagers," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 012423, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
    2. Anton Badev, 2014. "Discrete Games in Endogenous Networks: Theory and Policy," 2014 Meeting Papers 901, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Timothy Conley & Nirav Mehta & Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner, 2015. "Social Interactions, Mechanisms, and Equilibrium: Evidence from a Model of Study Time and Academic Achievement," NBER Working Papers 21418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Darwin Cortés & Carmen Elisa Flórez & Marta Carolina Ibarra & Daniel Martínez & Elvia Vargas Trujillo, 2016. "Educación de la Sexualidad, prácticas docentes y conocimientos de los estudiantes: Una evaluación del Programa de Educación para la Sexualidad y Construcción de Ciudadanía (PESCC)," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 014541, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
    5. Fletcher, Jason M. & Polos, Jessica, 2017. "Nonmarital and Teen Fertility," IZA Discussion Papers 10833, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social interaction models; mechanisms; sexual activity; youth; structural estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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