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

Listed author(s):
  • Jeffrey E. Harris
  • Beatriz Lopez-Valcarcel
Registered author(s):

    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.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10409.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10409.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2004
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10409
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