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Identifying peer effects using spatial analysis: the role of peers on risky sexual behavior

Gbenga Ajilore

Review of Economics of the Household, 2015, vol. 13, issue 3, 635-652

Abstract: This paper explores the role of peer effects on early sexual debut for a sample of adolescents using data from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health (Add Health). Most studies analyzing peer influences ignore the “reflection” problem that occurs with studying peer effects. To address the reflection problem, this paper employs a spatial econometric approach to estimate a social interactions model. This is the first study in the literature on adolescent risky sexual behavior to use this approach to estimate peer effects. Similar to other research on peer effects and adolescent risky sexual behavior, this paper finds the existence of peer effects. However, the more vital outcome from this study is that older and male peers increase the likelihood of adolescent early sexual debut, while peers whose mothers are more open about sexual activity decrease adolescent risky sexual behavior. This methodology can help further our knowledge about the social context that influences adolescent sexual behavior. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Keywords: Peer effects; Early sexual debut; Risky sexual behavior; Social interactions model; Spatial durbin probit model; C21; J13; Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1007/s11150-013-9235-4

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