IZA DP No. 10186: Residential Choices of Young Americans
Using detailed data on a cohort of young Americans who were in their late twenties and early thirties in 2008, we investigate the importance of forces different from economic incentives in nest-leaving decisions. We apply recent methods from social network econometrics to identify the importance of peers net of confounding factors. For the entire sample, our findings reveal no evidence of peer effects. Indicators of parenting and the social structure of families appear to be the major factors in the decisions to coreside with parents. However, for those who moved back home after a few years of living alone, we find strong peer effects. These findings are consistent with theories of social influences in peer groups in which peers play a critical role for individuals with time-inconsistent preferences.