Title: Chapter 9: Social Capital and Smoking
Authors: ROCCO LorenzoD'HOMBRES Beatrice
Publisher: World Scientific
Publication Year: 2014
JRC N°: JRC84969
ISBN: 978-981-4293-39-6 (print)
978-981-4583-04-6 (eBook)
URI: http://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/7593#t=aboutBook
http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/10.1142/9789814293402_0009
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC84969
DOI: 10.1142/9789814293402_0009
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The analysis of the relationship between social capital and smoking, and more generally between social capital and health-related behaviors, has been so far the only attempt of studying one specific channel of transmission of the beneficial influence of social capital on individual health. Health-related behaviors are crucial inputs for individual health and they might convey a substantial proportion of the overall beneficial influence of social capital on health. However, although we generally observe in the literature that higher social capital induces more health-responsible behaviors (Lindström, 2003; Lundborg, 2005), we are not able to distinguish between the alternative mechanisms that might be at work behind this relation. In other words, we do not have a clear idea of why social capital induces more health-responsible behaviors. In the empirical literature only reduced form models have been estimated with the majority of studies being devoted to the relationship between either social capital and smoking, or social capital and alcohol and/or cannabis use. This chapter aims at going beyond reduced forms and explicitly explores one potential mechanism underlying the negative relationship between social capital and smoking behavior. Specifically, we want to test whether social capital does strengthen the compliance to anti-smoking regulations. Government-imposed smoking bans aim at reducing the negative externalities associated with smoking by, in particular, protecting the public from environmental tobacco smoke (“second hand smoke”). We postulate that smokers endowed with a high level of social capital are more likely to internalize both private and social costs of their behaviors, which should affect their responsiveness to the implementation of a smoking ban regulation. In order to test this hypothesis, we exploit German data on smoking behaviors immediately before and immediately after the implementation of smoking bans in public places between 2007 and 2008 and we examine whether their impact on smoking prevalence and intensity is larger among individuals endowed with a higher level of social capital.
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