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Asymmetric Social Interaction in Economics: Cigarette Smoking Among Young People in the United States, 1992-1999

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  • Jeffrey E. Harris
  • Beatriz Lopez-Valcarcel

Abstract

We analyzed cigarette smoking among people aged 15 - 24 in approximately 90,000 households in the 1992 - 1999 U.S. Current Population Surveys. We modeled social influence as an informational externality, in which each young person's smoking informs her peers about its coolness.' The resulting family smoking game,' with each sibling's smoking endogenous, may have multiple equilibria. We found that the pro-smoking influence of a fellow smoker markedly exceeded the deterrent effect of a non-smoking peer. The phenomenon of asymmetric social influence has implications for financial markets, educational performance, criminal behavior, and other areas of inquiry where peer influence is important.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey E. Harris & Beatriz Lopez-Valcarcel, 2004. "Asymmetric Social Interaction in Economics: Cigarette Smoking Among Young People in the United States, 1992-1999," NBER Working Papers 10409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10409
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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre Koning & Dinand Webbink & Nicholas Martin, 2015. "The effect of education on smoking behavior: new evidence from smoking durations of a sample of twins," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 1479-1497, June.
    2. Harris, Jeffrey E. & González López-Valcárcel, Beatriz, 2008. "Asymmetric peer effects in the analysis of cigarette smoking among young people in the United States, 1992-1999," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 249-264, March.
    3. Le Breton, Michel & Weber, Shlomo, 2009. "Existence of Pure Strategies Nash Equilibria in Social Interaction Games with Dyadic Externalities," CEPR Discussion Papers 7279, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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