IMC Colloquium Series: "Measuring Social Influences on Health"

Friday, November 13, 2009
11:30 - 12:30

Dr. Brian Krauth
Department of Economics, SFU


Conventional wisdom and substantial evidence suggest that a person's social environment affects both health behavior and health outcomes. However, obtaining credible measurements of these effects runs into the problem that social environment is at least partly chosen. As a result, the set of likely omitted/confounding variables is virtually unlimited. My talk will describe a research program that aims to quantify the uncertainty associated with effect measurements in this context. The unifying idea is to characterize the importance of omitted variables relative to included control variables. I will also describe applications to the measurement of peer effects in youth smoking, and of the effect of income inequality on health.