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Peer effects on substance use among American teenagers


The widespread use of illicit substances by American teenagers has attracted the interest of both the general public and academic researchers. Among the various factors that people believe influence youth substance use, peer effects are identified as a critical determinant. Identifying peer effects, however, is known to be a difficult task. In an attempt to overcome known difficulties, I estimate peer effects on substance usage among American teenagers using perceived peer behavior in the National Longitudinal Survey Youth 97. The data indicate robust peer effects. Moreover, the results do not change substantially in school and household fixed effects estimations.

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Correspondence to Daiji Kawaguchi.

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This is a chapter of my Ph.D. dissertation submitted to Michigan State University. I am especially grateful to David Neumark for his constructive comments and continuous encouragement. I thank Jeff Biddle, Ali Berker, Frederic Durousseau, Gigi Foster, Daniel Hamermesh, John Strauss, Jeffrey Wooldridge, the participants in the labor economics workshop at Michigan State University and 2001 Joint Statistical Meeting, and an anonymous referee for helpful comments. Scott Adams and David Wetzell gave me detailed comments, as well as advice on English. Donna Maurer provided careful editorial assistance. All remaining errors are, of course, my own. Due to a confidentiality agreement with the BLS on the usage of the NLSY 97 GeoCode file, the part of the dataset that is constructed from the GeoCode file cannot be released. Responsible editor: Daniel S. Hamermesh

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Kawaguchi, D. Peer effects on substance use among American teenagers. J Popul Econ 17, 351–367 (2004).

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  • Subjective perception
  • reflection problem
  • youth behavior

JEL classification

  • C13
  • I12
  • Z13