Lin, Xu (2012). Peer influences among adolescents: In school and at home. 2012 Add Health Users Conference.
This study analyzes peer influences in adolescents' various activities – both those that usually occur in school as group activities (including skipping school and physical fighting) and those that usually occur as individual activities at home (lying to parents and television viewing) - by using the Add Health in-school data. I employ the spatial autoregressive (SAR) model in Lee et al. (2010) to separately identify endogenous effects, contextual effects and correlated effects. The nonlinearity introduced by the SAR model helps resolve the ‘reflection problem’, and the omitted variable bias is addressed by the group fixed effect. Several alternative spatial weights matrices and an alternative model are investigated to evaluate the robustness of the results. I find that both endogenous effects and contextual effects exist in all of the four activities considered. There is evidence that peer effects are stronger for group activities that usually occur in school than those individual activities that usually occur at home, and that estimation of peer influences in home activities is subjected to more severe omitted variable bias. Friend heterogeneity does not appear to be an issue such that a simple spatial weights matrix of assigning equal weight among friends will serve the estimation purpose satisfactorily. The results exhibit slight changes with the friendship reciprocity assumption imposed and they are sensitive to the alternative model specification with SAR disturbances.
2012 Add Health Users Conference
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