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Risk Beliefs And Smoking Behavior




"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) Copyright (c) 2008 Western Economic Association International.

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

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hersch, Joni, 2000. "Gender, Income Levels, and the Demand for Cigarettes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 21(2-3), pages 263-282, November.
    2. Matthew C. Farrelly & William N. Evans & Edward Montgomery, 1999. "Do Workplace Smoking Bans Reduce Smoking?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 728-747, September.
    3. Rivers, Douglas & Vuong, Quang H., 1988. "Limited information estimators and exogeneity tests for simultaneous probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 347-366, November.
    4. W. Kip Viscusi & Joni Hersch, 2001. "Cigarette Smokers As Job Risk Takers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 269-280, May.
    5. Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. "Do Smokers Underestimate Risks?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1253-1269, December.
    6. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    7. Antoñanzas, Fernando & Viscusi, W. Kip & Rovira, Joan & Braña, Francisco J. & Portillo, Fabiola & Carvalho, Iirineu, 2000. "Smoking Risks in Spain: Part I--Perception of Risks to the Smoker," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 21(2-3), pages 161-186, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Hammitt, James K. & Rheinberger, Christoph, 2015. "Dinner with Bayes: On the Revision of Risk Beliefs," TSE Working Papers 15-574, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    3. Silvia Balia, 2014. "Survival expectations, subjective health and smoking: evidence from SHARE," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 753-780, September.
    4. 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.
    5. You, Kai, 2011. "Education, risk perceptions, and health behaviors," MPRA Paper 35535, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. 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.
    7. repec:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/693394 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. 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.
    9. Barron, Kai & Gamboa, Luis F. & Rodriguez-Lesmes, Paul, 2017. "Behavioural response to a sudden health risk: Dengue and educational outcomes in Colombia," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2017-306, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    10. 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.
    11. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:9:y:2008:i:12:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. 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.
    13. Wuppermann, Amelie Catherine, 2011. "Empirical Essays in Health and Education Economics," Munich Dissertations in Economics 13187, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. Helen Levy & Edward C. Norton & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2016. "Tobacco Regulation and Cost-Benefit Analysis: How Should We Value Foregone Consumer Surplus?," NBER Working Papers 22471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. 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.

    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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