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Estimating the Effects of Friendship Networks on Health Behaviors of Adolescents

Jason Fletcher and Stephen Ross

No 2011-26, Working papers from University of Connecticut, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper estimates the effects of friends’ health behaviors, smoking and drinking, on own health behaviors for adolescents while controlling for the effects of correlated unobservables between those friends. Specifically, the effect of friends’ health behaviors is identified by comparing similar individuals who have the same friendship opportunities because they attend the same school and make similar friendship choices, under the assumption that the friendship choice reveals information about an individual’s unobservables. We combine this identification strategy with a cross-cohort, within school design so that the model is identified based on across grade differences in the clustering of health behaviors within specific friendship patterns. Finally, we use the estimated information on correlated unobservables to examine longitudinal data on the on-set of health behaviors, where the opportunity for reverse causality should be minimal. Our estimates for both behavior and on-set are very robust to bias from correlated unobservables.

Keywords: Peer Effects; Friendship Networks; Adolescent Health; Smoking; Drinking; Cohort Study (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D85 I19 I21 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 60 pages
Date: 2011-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cwa, nep-edu, nep-hea, nep-ltv and nep-ure
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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Related works:
Working Paper: Estimating the Effects of Friendship Networks on Health Behaviors of Adolescents (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: Estimating the Effects of Friendship Networks on Health Behaviors of Adolescents (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: Estimating the Effects of Friendship Networks on Health Behaviors of Adolescents (2011) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:uct:uconnp:2011-26

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