Peer Effects and their Role in Binge Drinking across American College Campuses

ImpacTeen Research Papers

Peer Effects and their Role in Binge Drinking across American College Campuses

Wolaver A , Ciecierski C, Powell L, Wechsler H.

Universities have widely varying rates of heavy drinking, raising the question, “Do peers influence individual decisions to binge drink?” This study measures the effect of peer influences on binge drinking across U.S. college campuses using the 1997 and 1999 College Alcohol Studies. We find that a 1 percentage point increase in the level of peer use increases the probability of binge drinking 0.96 percentage points and frequent binge drinking 0.83 percentage points. By including both price and substance use control policies in our analyses, we provide evidence on both the direct price/policy effects on substance use behavior and the indirect price/policy effects that operate through the peer effect, referred to as the social multiplier.

Research Paper (PDF – 600KB)

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