[gov3009-l] Applied Statistics Workshop: Weihua An on Wednesday, October 19

Konstantin Kashin kkashin at fas.harvard.edu
Mon Oct 17 00:15:29 EDT 2011

Dear all,

Please join us for the Applied Statistics Workshop (Gov 3009) this
Wednesday, October 19 from 12.00 - 1.30 pm in CGIS Knafel Room 354. Weihua
An, a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Harvard University, will
give a presentation entitled "Peer Effects on Adolescent Smoking and Social
Network-Based Interventions". As always, a light lunch will be provided.

The abstract for the presentation is:

*This study addresses a fundamental question in social network analysis:
whether and to what extent peers affect a person's wellbeing. More
specifically, it attempts to identify and quantify peer effects on smoking
among adolescents.  *
*Based on the causal inference terminology, a systematic framework to study
causal peer effects was developed to distinguish several types of peer
effects, including peer effects under control, peer effects under treatment,
etc. To overcome the difficulties in identifying peer effects with
observational data, a novel field experiment was conducted with a partial
treatment group design specifically tuned to estimate peer effects.  *
*More specifically, a smoking prevention intervention composed of
distributing smoking prevention brochures and hosting health education
workshops was assigned to partial randomly chosen members in a number of
classes in six middle schools in China where the experiment was fielded. The
goal was to study how the information contained in the intervention was
spread across students and how it affected their information, knowledge,
intention, and behavior regarding smoking. To accelerate or reinforce the
diffusion, central students or students with their close friends as
identified based on their social network information were also chosen
respectively to receive the intervention in different treated classes.  *
*Descriptive analysis provided strong support for peer effects on the
initiation and maintenance of adolescent smoking. Further statistical
analysis showed that compared with students in the control classes, students
whose classmates were randomly chosen to receive the intervention but who
did not receive the intervention themselves were more likely to exchange
information about the intervention with other students and to remain non-
smokers or change to non-smokers overtime. It was also found that the social
network- based interventions did not consistently bring significant added
value in all the outcomes of interest and their benefits mainly concentrated
on lowering students' intention to smoke and decreasing smokers' popularity.
*Special attention will be paid in the presentation to elaborating how to
choose central students and student groups in a social network. *

An up-to-date schedule for the workshop is available at


Konstantin Kashin
Ph.D. Student in Government
Harvard University

Mobile: 978-844-0538
E-mail: kkashin at fas.harvard.edu
Site: http://people.fas.harvard.edu/~kkashin/
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