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Risk Beliefs And Smoking Behavior

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  • W. KIP VISCUSI
  • JAHN K HAKES

Abstract

We analyze smoking risk beliefs and smoking behavior using individual data from 1997 for the United States and 1998 for Massachusetts. Smokers and adults more generally overestimate the lung cancer risks of smoking and the mortality risks and life expectancy loss. Higher risk beliefs decrease the probability of starting to smoke and increase the probability of quitting among those who begin. Better educated smokers have lower and more accurate risk beliefs, but education decreases the probability of smoking. Higher state cigarette taxes correlate with risk beliefs but not with smoking status. The uninsured are especially likely to remain current smokers. (JEL I12, I18, D80)

Suggested Citation

  • W. Kip Viscusi & Jahn K Hakes, 2008. "Risk Beliefs And Smoking Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(1), pages 45-59, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:46:y:2008:i:1:p:45-59
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1465-7295.2007.00079.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Helen G. Levy & Edward C. Norton & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2018. "Tobacco Regulation and Cost-Benefit Analysis: How Should We Value Foregone Consumer Surplus?," American Journal of Health Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(1), pages 1-25, Winter.
    2. Belot, Michèle & James, Jonathan & Spiteri, Jonathan, 2020. "Facilitating healthy dietary habits: An experiment with a low income population," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    3. Hsieh, Chee-Ruey & Lo, Te-Fen, 2017. "Are smokers too optimistic about their health status: Ex ante perception versus ex post observation," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 169-183.
    4. Kai Barron & Luis F. Gamboa & Paul Rodríguez-Lesmes, 2019. "Behavioural Response to a Sudden Health Risk: Dengue and Educational Outcomes in Colombia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(4), pages 620-644, April.
    5. Christoph M. Rheinberger & James K. Hammitt, 2018. "Dinner with Bayes: On the revision of risk beliefs," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 57(3), pages 253-280, December.
    6. Silvia Balia, 2014. "Survival expectations, subjective health and smoking: evidence from SHARE," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 753-780, September.
    7. Thomas Leoni, 2010. "What drives the perception of health and safety risks in the workplace? Evidence from European labour markets," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 37(2), pages 165-195, May.
    8. You, Kai, 2011. "Education, risk perceptions, and health behaviors," MPRA Paper 35535, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Rebekka Christopoulou & Ahmed Jaber & Dean R. Lillard, 2013. "The Inter-generational and Social Transmission of Cultural Traits: Theory and Evidence from Smoking Behavior," NBER Working Papers 19304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Michael Darden, 2017. "Smoking, Expectations, and Health: A Dynamic Stochastic Model of Lifetime Smoking Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(5), pages 1465-1522.
    11. Schnellenbach, Jan, 2012. "Nudges and norms: On the political economy of soft paternalism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 266-277.
    12. Ahmed Khwaja & Frank Sloan & Sukyung Chung, 2007. "The relationship between individual expectations and behaviors: Mortality expectations and smoking decisions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 179-201, October.
    13. Michael Darden & Donna Gilleskie, 2016. "The Effects of Parental Health Shocks on Adult Offspring Smoking Behavior and Self‐Assessed Health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(8), pages 939-954, August.
    14. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:9:y:2008:i:12:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. W. Viscusi, 2008. "How to value a life," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 32(4), pages 311-323, October.
    16. Wuppermann, Amelie Catherine, 2011. "Empirical Essays in Health and Education Economics," Munich Dissertations in Economics 13187, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    17. Matteo M. Galizzi, 2014. "What Is Really Behavioral in Behavioral Health Policy? And Does It Work?," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 36(1), pages 25-60.
    18. Philippe Donder & Jean Hindriks, 2009. "Adverse selection, moral hazard and propitious selection," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 73-86, February.
    19. Dickie, Mark & Adamowicz, Wiktor & Gerking, Shelby & Veronesi, Marcella, 2022. "Risk Perception, Learning, and Willingness to Pay to Reduce Heart Disease Risk," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(3), pages 363-382, October.
    20. Shelby Gerking & Raman Khaddaria, 2012. "Perceptions Of Health Risk And Smoking Decisions Of Young People," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(7), pages 865-877, July.
    21. Gerking, S.D. & Khaddaria, R., 2012. "Perceptions of health risk and smoking decisions of young people," Other publications TiSEM 2e129465-1e69-4454-83d7-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    22. Fisher, Paul & Bhalotra, Sonia & Delavande, Adeline & James, Jonathan, 2020. "The impact of a personalised blood pressure warning on health outcomes and behaviours," ISER Working Paper Series 2020-02, Institute for Social and Economic Research.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General

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