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Does fertility behavior spread among friends?

Working paper n°: 50

Author(s): Nicoletta Balbo, Nicola Barban

Year: 2012

This paper investigates how social interactions among friends shape fertility. We specifically examine whether and how friends' fertility behaviour affects an individual's transition to parenthood. By integrating insights from economic and sociological theories, we elaborate on the mechanisms via which interactions among friends might affect an individual's risk of becoming a parent. By exploiting the survey design of the Add Health data, we follow a strategy that allows us to properly identify interaction effects and distinguish them from selection and contextual effects. We engage in a series of discrete time event history models with random effect at the dyadic level. Results show that, net of confounding effects, a friend's childbearing increases an individual's risk of becoming a parent. We find a short-term, curvilinear effect: an individual's risk of childbearing starts increasing after a friend's childbearing, it reaches its peak around two years later, and then decreases.


Nicoletta Balbo

Universita Bocconi, Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics

 

Nicola Barban

Groningen University, Department of Sociology

 

Keywords: transition to parenthood; add-health; social interaction; peer effect

 

Download: The paper may be downloaded here.

Last updated 14 July 2015 - 14:17:23