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Smoking Initiation: Peers and Personality

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  • Chih-Sheng Hsieh

    (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, PR China)

  • Hans van Kippersluis

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands)

Abstract

Social interactions are generally thought to play an important role in smoking initiation among adolescents. In this paper we exploit detailed friendship nominations in the US Add Health data, and extend the Spatial Autoregressive Model (SAR) model to deal with (i) endogenous peer selection, and (ii) unobserved contextual effects, in order to identify the endogenous peer effect. We show that peer effects in the uptake of smoking are predominantly affecting individuals who are emotionally unstable. That is, individuals with "weaker" personalities are more vulnerable to peer pressure. This finding not only helps understanding heterogeneity in peer effects, but additionally provides a promising mechanism through which personality affects later life health and socioeconomic outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Chih-Sheng Hsieh & Hans van Kippersluis, 2015. "Smoking Initiation: Peers and Personality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-093/V, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20150093
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    Keywords

    Smoking; Peer effects; Personality; SAR model; Bayesian MCMC;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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