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Relative Deprivation and Risky Behaviors

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  • Ana I. Balsa

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  • Michael T. French
  • Tracy L. Regan

Abstract

Relative deprivation, as measured by one?s socioeconomic status (SES) compared to that of a relevant peer group, has been associated with lower life and job satisfaction, as well as with adverse physical and mental health outcomes. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we examine whether a student?s SES relative to her classmates has a direct effect on the frequency of drinking alcohol, drinking to intoxication, and smoking cigarettes. We further the existing literature by addressing selection and simultaneity bias, and by focusing on a reference group likely to exert the most influence on the subjects under study. We find that relative deprivation is positively and significantly associated with alcohol consumption, drinking to intoxication, and smoking for male adolescents, but not for females. Alternative variable definitions and robustness checks confirm the core findings. This study offers new insight into the reasons why adolescents engage in risky behaviors.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana I. Balsa & Michael T. French & Tracy L. Regan, 2012. "Relative Deprivation and Risky Behaviors," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1203, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
  • Handle: RePEc:mnt:wpaper:1203
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    File URL: http://www.um.edu.uy/docs/working_paper_um_cee_2012_03.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Ana Maria Takahashi, 2014. "Job-related stress in academia: the role of relative deprivation, hours worked for different tasks, and children," Discussion Papers 1424, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    relative deprivation; socio-economic status; risky behaviors; adolescents;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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