Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Review of Economic Perspectives

Národohospodárský obzor; The Journal of Masaryk University

4 Issues per year

CiteScore 2016: 0.50

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.262
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.516

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 17, Issue 3


Peer Effects and Youth Smoking in the European Global Youth Tobacco Survey

Silda Nikaj
  • Economist, University of Illinois at Chicago, 610 S. Morgan St. 725 University Hall (MC 144) Chicago IL 60607.
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2017-09-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/revecp-2017-0012


This paper investigates the effect of peer smoking on individual smoking among youths in 10 countries that participated in the European Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS). I control for endogeneity in school selection and unobserved school-level characteristics through the use of school fixed-effects. I use instrumental variables to address the simultaneity in peer and individual behaviours. Identification arises by comparing students in different classes within the same school. On average, an increase in the share of classmates who smoke by 10 percentage points increases the probability that an individual in that class will smoke by 3 to 6.9 percentage points. The results imply that any policy intervention such as anti-smoking messages, smoking bans, or higher cigarette prices will be even more cost-effective because of the social multiplier effect of peers – policies affecting some individuals in a group will generate spillovers to others through the peer effect.

Keywords: adolescent smoking; European youths; peer effects; substance use

JEL Classification: I12; D1


  • ALI, M.M. and DWYER, D.S., 2009. Estimating peer effects in adolescent smoking behavior: a longitudinal analysis. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45(4), pp.402-408.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • AKERLOF, G.A., 1997. Social distance and social decisions. Econometrica: Journal of the Econometric Society, pp.1005-1027.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • BECKER, G.S. and Murphy, K.M., 2009. Social economics: Market behavior in a social environment. Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

  • BIFULCO, R., Fletcher, J.M. and Ross, S.L., 2011. The effect of classmate characteristics on post-secondary outcomes: Evidence from the Add Health. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 3(1), pp.25-53.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • BIKHCHANDANI, S., HIRSHLEIFER, D. and WELCH, I., 1992. A theory of fads, fashion, custom, and cultural change as informational cascades. Journal of political Economy, 100(5), pp.992-1026. http://doi.org/10.1086/261849Crossref

  • CHEN, J. and MILLAR, W.J., 1998. Age of smoking initiation: implications for quitting. Health reports-statistics Canada, 9, pp.39-48.Google Scholar

  • CLARK, A.E. and LOHÉAC, Y., 2007. “It wasn’t me, it was them!” Social influence in risky behavior by adolescents. Journal of health economics, 26(4), pp.763-784. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhealeco.2006.11.005Crossref

  • CUTLER, D.M. and GLAESER, E.L., 2007. Social interactions and smoking (No. w13477). National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar

  • FLETCHER, J.M., 2010. Social interactions and smoking: Evidence using multiple student cohorts, instrumental variables, and school fixed effects. Health Economics, 19(4), pp.466-484. http://doi.org/10.1002/hec.1488Crossref

  • GAVIRIA, A. and RAPHAEL, S., 2001. School-based peer effects and juvenile behavior. The review of economics and statistics, 83(2), pp.257-268.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • JHA, P., CHALOUPKA, F.J., MOORE, J., GAJALAKSHMI, V., GUPTA, P.C., PECK, R., ASMA, S. and ZATONSKI, W., 2006. Disease control priorities in developing countries. Disease control priorities in developing countries.Google Scholar

  • LUNDBORG, P., 2006. Having the wrong friends? Peer effects in adolescent substance use. Journal of health economics, 25(2), pp.214-233. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhealeco.2005.02.001Crossref

  • MANSKI, C.F., 1993. Identification of endogenous social effects: The reflection problem. The review of economic studies, 60(3), pp.531-542.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • MANSKI, C.F., 2000. Economic analysis of social interactions (No. w7580). National bureau of economic research.Google Scholar

  • MCVICAR, D. and POLANSKI, A., 2014. Peer effects in UK adolescent substance use: Never mind the classmates?. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 76(4), pp.589-604. http://doi.org/10.1111/obes.12030Crossref

  • MCVICAR, D., 2011. Estimates of peer effects in adolescent smoking across twenty six European countries. Social Science & Medicine, 73(8), pp.1186-1193. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.08.006

  • PERTOLD, F., 2009. Sorting into Secondary Education and Peer Effects in Youth Smoking. Available at: http://cerge-ei.cz/pdf/wp/Wp399.pdf (Accessed: 30th June 2017)

  • POWELL, L.M., TAURAS, J.A. and ROSS, H., 2005. The importance of peer effects, cigarette prices and tobacco control policies for youth smoking behavior. Journal of health Economics, 24(5), pp.950-968.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • The Tobacco Atlas, World Health Organization, 2012: http://www.tobaccoatlas.org/

  • World Health Organization, 2012. WHO global report on mortality attributable to tobacco. In WHO global report on mortality attributable to tobacco. Available at:. http://www.who.int/tobacco/publications/surveillance/rep_mortality_attributable/en/ (Accessed: 30th June 2017)

About the article

Received: 2016-12-20

Accepted: 2017-06-30

Published Online: 2017-09-23

Published in Print: 2017-09-01

Citation Information: Review of Economic Perspectives, Volume 17, Issue 3, Pages 219–238, ISSN (Online) 1804-1663, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/revecp-2017-0012.

Export Citation

© 2017 Silda Nikaj, published by De Gruyter Open. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in