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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 31, 2010

The Impact of Job Stress on Smoking and Quitting: Evidence from the HRS

  • Padmaja Ayyagari and Jody L Sindelar


Job-related stress might affect smoking behavior because smoking may relieve stress and stress can make individuals more present-focused. Alternatively, individuals may both self-select into stressful jobs and choose to smoke based on unobserved factors. We use data from the Health and Retirement Study to examine how job stress affects the probability that smokers quit and the number of cigarettes smoked for current smokers. To address the potential endogeneity of job stress based on time invariant factors, we include individual fixed effects, which control for factors such as ability to handle stress. Occupational fixed effects are also included to control for occupational characteristics other than stress; time dummies control for the secular decline in smoking rates. Using a sample of people who smoked in the previous wave, we find that job stress is positively related to continuing to smoke among recent smokers. The results indicate that the key impact of stress is on the extensive margin of smoking, as opposed to the number of cigarettes smoked.

Published Online: 2010-3-31

©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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