Social Norms and Teenage Smoking: The Dark Side of Gender Equality

58 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2016

See all articles by Núria Rodríguez-Planas

Núria Rodríguez-Planas

City University New York (CUNY), Queens College; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Anna Sanz-de-Galdeano

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

This paper is the first to provide evidence that cultural attitudes towards gender equality affect behaviors with potentially devastating health consequences, and that they do so differently for male and female teenagers. In particular, we show that descending from more gender-equal societies makes girls relatively more prone to smoke than boys. Using data from over 6,000 second-generation immigrant teenagers coming from 45 different countries of ancestry and living in Spain, we find that the higher the degree of gender equality in the country of ancestry, the higher the likelihood that immigrant girls smoke relative to boys, even after we control for parental, sibling, and peer smoking. Importantly, we uncover similar patterns when analyzing other risky behaviors such as drinking or smoking marijuana. This reinforces the idea that more gender-equal social norms may come at an extra cost to women's health, as they increasingly engage in risky behaviors (beyond smoking) traditionally more prevalent among men.

Keywords: culture and institutions, smoking, risky behaviors, gender equality, gender gap index

JEL Classification: I10, I12, J15, J16, Z13

Suggested Citation

Rodriguez-Planas, Nuria and Sanz De Galdeano, Anna, Social Norms and Teenage Smoking: The Dark Side of Gender Equality. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10134. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2826928

Nuria Rodriguez-Planas (Contact Author)

City University New York (CUNY), Queens College ( email )

65-30 Kissena Blvd
Flushing, NY 11367-1597
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/nuriarodriguezplanas/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Anna Sanz De Galdeano

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona ( email )

Edifici B - Campus Bellaterra
Barcelona, 08193
Spain

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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