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Gender, risk perceptions, and smoking behavior

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Abstract

Among younger cohorts, the smoking rate of females has surpassed that of males in many western countries. This is a departure from the common observation that males engage more frequently in risky behaviors. The underlying reasons for gender differences in smoking behavior, and thus for the recent trends, are not well understood. Using a sample of 8,592 Swedish adolescents aged 15-18, this paper contributes to the literature by exploring gender differences in smoking risk perceptions and in the responses to the latter. The results show significant gender differences in the perception of smoking mortality risk and in the perception of the addictiveness of smoking. Girls perceive the mortality risk of smoking as significantly greater than boys do, but they also perceive the addictiveness of cigarettes as less. These results persist after controlling for a wide range of background characteristics, including smoking risk information sources. Moreover, the findings suggest that while smoking information from sources such as teachers, pals, and own search, affect smoking mortality perceptions in a significant and positive manner among boys, no such effects are obtained among girls. Finally, no evidence is found for gender differences in the effect of perceived risks of smoking on the probability of being a smoker.

Suggested Citation

  • Lundborg, Petter & Andersson, Henrik, 2007. "Gender, risk perceptions, and smoking behavior," Working Papers 2007:5, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:vtiwps:2007_005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lundborg, Petter & Lindgren, Bjorn, 2002. "Risk Perceptions and Alcohol Consumption among Young People," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 165-183, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Hersch, Joni, 1998. "Compensating Differentials for Gender-Specific Job Injury Risks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 598-627, June.
    4. 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.
    5. Fred C. Pampel, 2002. "Cigarette Use and the Narrowing Sex Differential in Mortality," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(1), pages 77-104.
    6. Petter Lundborg, 2007. "Smoking, information sources, and risk perceptions—New results on Swedish data," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 217-240, June.
    7. Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon & Bernasek, Alexandra, 1998. "Are Women More Risk Averse?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 620-630, October.
    8. Andersson, Henrik & Lundborg, Petter, 2006. "Perception of Own Death Risk: An Analysis of Road-Traffic and Overall Mortality Risks," Working Papers 2006:1, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).
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    11. Petter Lundborg & Bj–rn Lindgren, 2004. "Do They Know What They are Doing? Risk Perceptions and Smoking Behaviour Among Swedish Teenagers," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 261-286, May.
    12. Steven Yen, 2005. "Zero observations and gender differences in cigarette consumption," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(16), pages 1839-1849.
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    Cited by:

    1. Henrik Andersson & Petter Lundborg, 2007. "Perception of own death risk," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 67-84, February.
    2. repec:eee:labeco:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:150-165 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Amin, Vikesh & Lhila, Aparna, 2016. "Decomposing racial differences in adolescent smoking in the U.S," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 161-176.
    4. Bubonya, Melisa & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Wooden, Mark, 2017. "Mental health and productivity at work: Does what you do matter?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 150-165.
    5. Andersson, Henrik, 2008. "Perception of Own Death Risk: A Reassessment of Road-Traffic Mortality Risk," Working Papers 2008:11, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).
    6. David L. Dickinson & Sean P.A. Drummond & Jeff Dyche, 2014. "Voluntary sleep choice and its effects on Bayesian decisions: A study of two samples of college students," Working Papers 14-11, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    7. Petrolia, Daniel R., 2016. "Risk preferences, risk perceptions, and risky food," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 37-48.
    8. Andersson, Henrik & Lundborg, Petter, 2006. "Perception of Own Death Risk: An Analysis of Road-Traffic and Overall Mortality Risks," Working Papers 2006:1, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).
    9. Anna-Liesa Lange & Philipp Otto, 2016. "Bayes’sche Statistik in der Dienstleistungsforschung
      [Bayesian statistics in service research]
      ," AStA Wirtschafts- und Sozialstatistisches Archiv, Springer;Deutsche Statistische Gesellschaft - German Statistical Society, vol. 10(4), pages 247-267, December.
    10. Jie-Min Lee & Sheng-Hung Chen & Hsiang-Hsi Liu & Jung-Yao Hung & Mei-Yun Huang, 2010. "Effects Of Health Risk Information On Addictive Goods Consumption: A Case Of Tobacco, Alcohol, And Betel Nuts In Taiwan," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(3), pages 406-413, July.
    11. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2016. "Biology and Gender in the Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 10386, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. David L. Dickinson & Scott R. Collier, 2012. "The Effects of Moderate Exercise on Bayesian Choices," Working Papers 12-06, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    13. 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

    Keywords

    Gender; smoking; risk perceptions; information;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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