Peer effects and multiple equilibria in the risky behavior of friends

David Card, Laura Giuliano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


We study social interactions in the initiation of sex and other risky behaviors by best friend pairs in the Add Health panel. Focusing on friends with minimal experience at the baseline interview, we estimate bivariate ordered-choice models that include both peer effects and unobserved heterogeneity. We find significant peer effects in sexual initiation: the likelihood of initiating intercourse within a year increases by almost 5 percentage points (on an 11% base rate) if one's friend also initiates intercourse. Similar effects are present for smoking, marijuana use, and truancy. We find larger effects for females and important asymmetries in nonreciprocated friendships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1130-1149
Number of pages20
JournalReview of Economics and Statistics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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