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“A Preference for the Similar: Evidence From Peer Mentoring for Smoking Cessation.”

Colloquium | April 24 | 12:40-2 p.m. | 104 Genetics & Plant Biology Building


Justin White, PhD, Assistant Professor, Health Economics, Institute for Health Policy Studies & the Dept of Epidemiology & Biostatistics UCSF School of Medicine

Public Health, School of


Although peer effects have been documented in many contexts, little is known about the role played by peer characteristics in mediating those effects. Are people more likely to follow those most similar to them? Along what dimensions does similarity matter most? We study this question in the context of peer mentoring for smoking cessation, delivered by former smokers through a text-messaging platform. The platform serves as the basis for an RCT to evaluate peer mentoring for smoking cessation. We analyze smokers’ preferences for peer mentors to understand which mentor characteristics matter most to them and to investigate the role played by similarity in shaping their preferences, engagement, and performance.


healthpolicy_phd@berkeley.edu, 510-643-8571