Identification of Social Interactions through Partially Overlapping Peer Groups

American Economic Journal Applied Economics (Impact Factor: 2.76). 01/2010; 2(2):241-75. DOI: 10.1257/app.2.2.241
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT In this paper, we demonstrate that, in a context where peer groups do not overlap fully, it is possible to identify all the relevant parameters of the standard linear-in-means model of social interactions. We apply this novel identification structure to study peer effects in the choice of college major. Results show that one is more likely to choose a major when many of her peers make the same choice. We also show that peers can divert students from majors in which they have a relative ability advantage, with adverse consequences on academic performance, entry wages, and job satisfaction. (JEL I23, J24, J31, Z13)

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Societies socialize children about many things, including sex. Socialization is costly. It uses scarce resources, such as time and effort. Parents weigh the marginal gains from socialization against its costs. Those at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale indoctrinate their daughters less than others about the perils of premarital sex, because the latter will lose less from an out-of-wedlock birth. Modern contraceptives have profoundly affected the calculus for instilling sexual mores, leading to a de-stigmatization of sex. As contraception has become more effective there is less need for parents, churches and states to inculcate sexual mores. Technology affects culture.
    Journal of the European Economic Association 03/2013; · 1.36 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We quantify the impact of network-based learning and influence on measures of female power and child nutrition in rural India. Empowering women to have greater say in child rearing may generate greater and more lasting benefits to children than nutrition supplementation. While researchers have used proxy reports or correlates like caste to trace networks, we map networks by surveying friends of respondents. We use participation in a womens education program to identify increases in female power, as well as stronger and more diverse networks. We study the ways in which networks affect individuals, namely learning and influence. Finally, we characterize the benefits of using survey data rather than proxies to identify networks. Our results linking networks to child nutrition should also inform child health policy.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is a large literature on social interactions and still little is known about the economic mechanisms leading to the high level of clustering in behavior that is so commonly observed in the data. In this paper we present a model in which agents are allowed to interact according to three distinct mechanisms, and we derive testable implications on the mean and the variance of the outcomes within and across groups. The empirical tests allow us to distinguish which mechanism(s) generates the observed patterns in the data. In our application we study the performance of undergraduate students and we find that social interactions take the form of mutual insurance. Such a result bears crucial policy implications for all those situations in which social interactions are important, from teamwork to class formation in education and co-authorship in academic research.
    The Economic Journal 04/2011; · 1.95 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 29, 2014