Self-Control and Peer Groups: An Empirical Analysis

We exploit the exogenous variation in peer groups generated by high school to college transitions to study the theoretical predictions of Battaglini, Bénabou and Tirole's (2005) model of self-control in peer groups. We find evidence consistent with the two key predictions of this theory regarding the relationship between an agent's expected self-control problems and the size and composition of his or her social circles: (i) students embedded in social circles have more self-control than those who are alone and their self-control is increasing in the size of their social group; (ii) students' self-control is, however, a non-monotonic hump-shaped function of the average self-control of their friends.

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