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Social Norms and Teenage Smoking: The Dark Side of Gender Equality

Author

Listed:
  • Rodríguez-Planas, Núria

    (Queens College, CUNY)

  • Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna

    (Universidad de Alicante)

Abstract

This paper is the first to provide evidence that cultural attitudes towards gender equality affect behaviors with potentially devastating health consequences, and that they do so differently for male and female teenagers. In particular, we show that descending from more gender-equal societies makes girls relatively more prone to smoke than boys. Using data from over 6,000 second-generation immigrant teenagers coming from 45 different countries of ancestry and living in Spain, we find that the higher the degree of gender equality in the country of ancestry, the higher the likelihood that immigrant girls smoke relative to boys, even after we control for parental, sibling, and peer smoking. Importantly, we uncover similar patterns when analyzing other risky behaviors such as drinking or smoking marijuana. This reinforces the idea that more gender-equal social norms may come at an extra cost to women's health, as they increasingly engage in risky behaviors (beyond smoking) traditionally more prevalent among men.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodríguez-Planas, Núria & Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna, 2016. "Social Norms and Teenage Smoking: The Dark Side of Gender Equality," IZA Discussion Papers 10134, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10134
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. González, Libertad & Rodríguez-Planas, Núria, 2020. "Gender norms and intimate partner violence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 223-248.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    risky behaviors; smoking; culture and institutions; gender equality; gender gap index;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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