Home > Events & News > Brown Bag Schedule . Archive

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Geronimus: Stress makes black women 7.5 years older in biological age than white counterparts

Frey rethinks trends in Millennial mass urganization

Shaefer on new UN report about America's failing safety net

More News

Highlights

Seefeldt promoted to associate professor of social work, associate professor of public policy

Martha Bailey elected to the Board of Officers of the Society of Labor Economists

Charlie Brown elected to the Board of Officers of the Society of Labor Economists

Former PSC trainee Patrick Kline wins SOLE's Sherwin Rosen Prize for "Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Labor Economics"

More Highlights

Next Brown Bag

More PSC brown bags, Fall 2018

College roommates drinking

College roommate impact on binge drinking

11/24/2014 feature story

Daniel Eisenberg and colleagues use a natural experiment inherent in assigned college roommates to estimate peer effects for several health risk behaviors.

More Information.

Daniel Eisenberg

Publication Information:

Eisenberg, Daniel, Ezra Golberstein, and Janis L. Whitlock. 2014. "Peer effects on risky behaviors: New evidence from college roommate assignments." Journal of Health Economics, 33: 126-138.

Social scientists continue to devote considerable attention to spillover effects for risky behaviors because of the important policy implications and the persistent challenges in identifying unbiased causal effects. We use the natural experiment of assigned college roommates to estimate peer effects for several measures of health risks: binge drinking, smoking, illicit drug use, gambling, having multiple sex partners, suicidal ideation, and non-suicidal self-injury. We find significant peer effects for binge drinking but little evidence of effects for other outcomes, although there is tentative evidence that peer effects for smoking may be positive among men and negative among women. In contrast to prior research, the peer effects for binge drinking are significant for all subgroups defined by sex and prior drinking status. We also find that pre-existing risky behaviors predict the closeness of friendships, which underscores the significance of addressing selection biases in studies of peer effects.

Feature Archive.