Neighborhood Peer Effects

Neighborhood Peer Effects

Significant evidence spanning diverse disciplines of geography, public health, criminology, economics, and regional science has demonstrated consistent associations between a person’s social and neighborhood environment and individual behavior. Increasing attention has been directed at models focused on distinguishing the pathways through which these environments affect individual’s behavior.  In this research agenda we focus on identifying how and in what ways individuals residing in low-income neighborhoods impact each other’s behavior. Ultimately we seek to identify the effects of direct peer-to-peer influence separately from the influence of shared environmental and socio-demographic characteristics in order to improve the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving low-income population’s ability to engage in welfare-enhancing behaviors.


  • Pruitt, S.L., Leonard, T., Murdoch, J., Hughes, A., McQueen, A., Gupta, S. 2014. Neighborhood effects in a behavioral randomized controlled trial. Health and Place. 30:293-300.
  • Leonard, T., C. McKillop, J. Carson, K. Shuval.  2014.  Neighborhood Effects on Food Consumption. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. 51, 99-113
  • Caughy, Margaret O., Leonard, T., Beron, K., Murdoch, J.  2013.  Defining Neighborhood Boundaries in Studies of Spatial Dependence in Child Behavior Problems.  International Journal of Health Geographics.  12:24.

Working Papers

  • McKillop, C., T. Leonard, S.L. Pruitt, J. Sanders, J.A. Tiro.  Vaccination as an Impure Public Good: HPV Vaccine Uptake in an Underinsured Population