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

  • 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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 115-136, Summer.
  5. 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.
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  7. Philip DeCicca & Donald S. Kenkel & Alan D. Mathios & Yoon-Jeong Shin & Jae-Young Lim, 2006. "Youth Smoking, Cigarette Prices, and Anti-Smoking Sentiment," NBER Working Papers 12458, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Michael Kremer & Dan M. Levy, 2003. "Peer Effects and Alcohol Use Among College Students," NBER Working Papers 9876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. 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.
  11. Douglas, Stratford, 1998. "The Duration of the Smoking Habit," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 49-64, January.
  12. Summers, Anita A & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1977. "Do Schools Make a Difference?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 639-52, September.
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  14. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. 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.
  17. Jacob M. Markman & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2003. "Does peer ability affect student achievement?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 527-544.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  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. 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.
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