Spatial Analysis of Peer Effects and Early Sexual Initiation among African-American Adolescents

Olugbenga Ajilore, University of Toledo

Adolescent risky sexual behavior is serious problem that plagues the African-American community more than other ethnic groups. African-American males are more likely to be sexually active, have multiple partners, and have a higher incidence of sexually-transmitted diseases. This paper explores the role of peer effects on risky sexual behavior for African-American youth. Most studies analyzing peer influences ignore the “reflection” problem that occurs with studying peer effects and in the studies that try to correct for these issues, most scholars use either school fixed effects or instrumental variable regression techniques to model the endogenous interactions (Fletcher, 2011). However, recent advances in spatial econometrics have been shown to be useful in estimating social interaction models (Blume et al, 2010). This study contributes to literature on adolescent risky sexual behavior by using a generalized spatial autoregressive approach.

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Presented in Session 201: Adolescent Sexual Behavior, Risk-Taking and Health