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Estimates of peer effects in adolescent smoking across twenty six European Countries

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  • McVicar, Duncan

Abstract

Although it is widely believed that one of the key factors influencing whether an adolescent smokes or not is the smoking behaviour of his or her peers, empirical evidence on the magnitude of such peer effects, and even on their existence, is mixed. This existing evidence comes from a range of studies using a variety of country-specific data sources and a variety of identification strategies. This paper exploits a rich source of individual level, school-based, survey data on adolescent substance use across countries – the 2007 European Schools Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs – to provide estimates of peer effects between classmates in adolescent smoking for 75,000 individuals across 26 European countries, using the same methods in each case. The results suggest statistically significant peer effects in almost all cases. These peer effects estimates are large: on average across countries, the probability that a ‘typical’ adolescent smokes increases by between.31 and.38 percentage points for a one percentage point increase in the proportion of classmates that smoke. Further, estimated peer effects in adolescent smoking are stronger intra-gender than inter-gender. They also vary across countries: in Belgium, for example, a one percentage point increase in reference group smoking is associated with a.16 to.27 percentage point increase in own smoking probability; in the Netherlands the corresponding increase is between.42 and.59 percentage points.

Suggested Citation

  • McVicar, Duncan, 2011. "Estimates of peer effects in adolescent smoking across twenty six European Countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(8), pages 1186-1193.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:73:y:2011:i:8:p:1186-1193
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.08.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lundborg, Petter, 2006. "Having the wrong friends? Peer effects in adolescent substance use," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 214-233, March.
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    8. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    9. Clark, Andrew E. & Loheac, Youenn, 2007. ""It wasn't me, it was them!" Social influence in risky behavior by adolescents," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 763-784, July.
    10. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2004:94:1:96-102_7 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Maes, Lea & Lievens, John, 2003. "Can the school make a difference? A multilevel analysis of adolescent risk and health behaviour," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 517-529, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. John Moriarty & Duncan McVicar & Kathryn Higgins, 2012. "Peer Effects in Adolescent Cannabis Use: It's the Friends, Stupid," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2012n27, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    2. Alfred Kechia Mukong, 2017. "Peer Networks and Tobacco Consumption in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 85(3), pages 341-367, September.
    3. Duncan McVicar, 2012. "Cross Country Estimates of Peer Effects in Adolescent Smoking Using IV and School Fixed Effects," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2012n07, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    4. Duncan McVicar & Arnold Polanski, 2014. "Peer Effects in UK Adolescent Substance Use: Never Mind the Classmates?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 76(4), pages 589-604, August.
    5. R. Duarte & J. Escario & J. Molina, 2014. "Are estimated peer effects on smoking robust? Evidence from adolescent students in Spain," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 1167-1179, May.
    6. Timo-Kolja Pförtner & Bart Clercq & Michela Lenzi & Alessio Vieno & Katharina Rathmann & Irene Moor & Anne Hublet & Michal Molcho & Anton Kunst & Matthias Richter, 2015. "Does the association between different dimension of social capital and adolescent smoking vary by socioeconomic status? a pooled cross-national analysis," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 60(8), pages 901-910, December.
    7. Rosa Duarte & José-Julián Escario & José-Alberto Molina, 2014. "Broader versus closer social interactions in smoking," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 13(2), pages 183-194, November.
    8. Duncan McVicar & Julie Moschion & Chris Ryan, 2013. "Right Peer, Right Now? Endogenous Peer Effects and Achievement in Victorian Primary Schools," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2013n22, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

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    Keywords

    Peer effects; Smoking; Tobacco; Adolescents; School; Europe;

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