Smoking and Social Interaction
10 Pages Posted: 3 May 2013
Date Written: May 2, 2013
Smoking, like many health-related behaviors, has "social" aspects. The smoking habits of my neighbors are likely to shape my own smoking habits, due to what is known in economics as “peer effects.” These complementarities in behavior may result from emulation, joint consumption, conformism, incomplete information and so on. Academics and policy makers seem to universally acknowledge that the social network in which agents are embedded, take decisions and consume, is one of the key elements, together with tastes and various demographics, in determining the smoking behavior of people. This article discusses how accounting for the external effects of smoking (second-hand smoke) and for the concern that people have for their friends and relatives who are exposed to such effects, can help interpret some of the recent trends in smoking behavior, and possibly suggest how to tune anti-smoking policies.
Keywords: Smoking, Social Interaction, Network Effects
JEL Classification: I18, D7, D85
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation