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Friend and peer effects on entry into marriage and parenthood: A multiprocess approach

Number: 56
Year: 2013
Author(s): Nicoletta Balbo, Nicola Barban, Melinda Mills
Keywords: social interactions,peer effects,fertility,marriage,multiprocess,event history analysis
This paper aims to investigate whether friends’ and peers’ behavior influence and individual’s entry into marriage and parenthood during the transition to adulthood of young, U.S. adults. After first studying entry into marriage and parenthood as two independent events, we then examine them as interrelated processes, thereby considering them as two joint outcomes of an individual’s unique, underlying family-formation strategy. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we engage in a series of discrete time event history models to test whether the larger the number of friends and peers who get married (or have a child), the sooner the individual gets married (or has a child). Results show strong cross-friend effects on entry into parenthood, whereas entry into marriage is only affected by peer effects. Estimates of a multiprocess model show that cross-friend effects on entry into parenthood remain strongly significant even when we control for cross-process unobserved heterogeneity.

Nicoletta Balbo

Universita Bocconi, Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics


Nicola Barban


Melinda Mills


Keywords: Social interactions, peer effects, fertility, marriage, multiprocess, event history analysis


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