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How Does Actual Unemployment and the Perceived Risk of Joblessness Affect Smoking Behavior? Gender and Intra-family Effects

Irina B. Grafova and Alan C. Monheit

Review of Economics of the Household
2017
Using the 1999–2011 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we examine how actual unemployment and the perceived risk of joblessness, as reflected by exogenous aggregate unemployment rates, are related to changes in smoking behavior. The analysis allows for intra-family and gender-specific effects. We find that among men, becoming unemployed initially has a favorable impact on smoking behavior, including a decreased likelihood of a smoking relapse and decreased cigarette consumption. However among men who are unemployed long term, some of these favorable effects attenuate. Among women, we find that becoming unemployed initially has a small impact on quitting smoking. However, being unemployed long term decreases their likelihood of quitting smoking. The perceived risk of unemployment has very little impact on men but affects women’s smoking behavior. Results also indicate that women experiencing an increase in their state level unemployment rate are more likely to change their smoking behavior favourably including a higher likelihood of quitting smoking and a decrease in cigarette consumption. It is possible that the perceived risk of future unemployment may affect one’s expected future financial resources and one’s expected future opportunity costs, which in turn, can affect present smoking behaviour (Becker and Murphy 1988).

Irina B. Grafova and Alan C. Monheit. (2017). “How Does Actual Unemployment and the Perceived Risk of Joblessness Affect Smoking Behavior? Gender and Intra-family Effects.” Review of Economics of the Household. Published online May 20, 2017.



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