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Social interactions and smoking: evidence using multiple student cohorts, instrumental variables, and school fixed effects

Listed author(s):
  • Jason M. Fletcher

    (Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA)

In this paper, I use a social interactions framework to detect whether individual smoking decisions are influenced by classmate smoking decisions. There are several large challenges in addressing this question, including the endogeneity of school (and thus classmates) through residential location choices, 'third factors' such as school-level unobservables that influence individual and classmate choices simultaneously, and the difficulty of the identification of parameters in empirical models of social interactions. In order to address these issues, I use an instrumental variables|fixed effects methodology that compares students in different grades within the same high school who face a different set of classmates and classmates' decisions. Preferred specifications suggest that increasing the proportion of classmates who smoke by 10% will increase the likelihood an individual smokes by approximately 3 percentage points. I compare these results with previous findings that are unable to use school fixed effects and|or use potentially invalid instruments and find that the current results suggest smaller social interactions in adolescent smoking decisions than some previous work. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1488
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 466-484

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:19:y:2010:i:4:p:466-484
DOI: 10.1002/hec.1488
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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  1. Robert Bifulco & Jason M. Fletcher & Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "The Effect of Classmate Characteristics on Individual Outcomes: Evidence from the Add Health," Working papers 2009-15, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  2. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Jacob M. Markman & Steven G. Rivkin, 2001. "Does Peer Ability Affect Student Achievement?," NBER Working Papers 8502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Philip DeCicca & Donald Kenkel & Alan Mathios & Yoon-Jeong Shin & Jae-Young Lim, 2008. "Youth smoking, cigarette prices, and anti-smoking sentiment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(6), pages 733-749.
  6. Daiji Kawaguchi, 2004. "Peer effects on substance use among American teenagers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(2), pages 351-367, 06.
  7. Victor Lavy & Analía Schlosser, 2007. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," NBER Working Papers 13292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jason Fletcher, 2007. "Social multipliers in sexual initiation decisions among U.S. high school students," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(2), pages 373-388, May.
  9. Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Wechsler, 1995. "Price, Tobacco Control Policies and Smoking Among Young Adults," NBER Working Papers 5012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 2001. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 235-260.
  12. Philip DeCicca & Donald Kenkel & Alan Mathios, 2002. "Putting Out the Fires: Will Higher Taxes Reduce the Onset of Youth Smoking?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 144-169, February.
  13. Clark, Andrew E. & Lohéac, Youenn, 2005. ""It Wasn't Me, It Was Them!" - Social Influence in Risky Behavior by Adolescents," IZA Discussion Papers 1573, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 7580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Michael Kremer & Dan M. Levy, 2003. "Peer Effects and Alcohol Use Among College Students," NBER Working Papers 9876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Anna Mikusheva & Brian P. Poi, 2006. "Tests and confidence sets with correct size when instruments are potentially weak," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 6(3), pages 335-347, September.
  17. Alejandro Gaviria & Steven Raphael, 2001. "School-Based Peer Effects And Juvenile Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 257-268, May.
  18. Douglas, Stratford, 1998. "The Duration of the Smoking Habit," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 49-64, January.
  19. Case, A.C. & Katz, L.F., 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects Of Family And Neighborhood On Disadvantaged Younths," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1555, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  20. R.Andrew Luccasen & R. Morris Coats & G. Karahan, 2005. "Cigarette smuggling mitigates the public health benefits of cigarette taxes," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(12), pages 769-773.
  21. Summers, Anita A & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1977. "Do Schools Make a Difference?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 639-652, September.
  22. Powell, Lisa M. & Tauras, John A. & Ross, Hana, 2005. "The importance of peer effects, cigarette prices and tobacco control policies for youth smoking behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 950-968, September.
  23. Douglas, Stratford & Hariharan, Govind, 1994. "The hazard of starting smoking: Estimates from a split population duration model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 213-230, July.
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