The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Social Networks and Health Outcomes

  • Jason M. Fletcher
Reference work entry


Although economists have sought to link the health behaviours or outcomes of socially connected individuals for several decades, there has been a recent resurgence in interest and expansion in empirical techniques. Studies that attempt to estimate social network effects in health decisions face several difficult econometric and measurement issues, including how to define the relevant social network of interest, the endogeneity of social ties, and unobserved shared environmental variables. This article reviews recent literature in this area with a focus on current debates and potentially useful future directions.


Drinking Social interactions Smoking Social networks Identification Health behaviours Endogeneity Regression-based estimation 

JEL Classifications

I29 I12 D85 
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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason M. Fletcher
    • 1
  1. 1.