NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Jennifer Gravelle

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Working Papers

April 2001The Exchange Theory of Teenage Smoking and the Counterproductiveness of Moderate Regulation
with Kent Smetters: w8262
About three-quarters of secondary schools are reluctant to vigorously enforce smoking bans due to various social pressures; ten percent of these schools do not have bans at all. Empirically, school-based smoking regulations appear, at best, ineffective at reducing teenage smoking and, more likely, may actually increase participation. Only schools which vigorously enforce bans have a lower smoking participation. In sum, teenage smoking participation appears to be non-monotonic in the level of enforcement. This paper develops an exchange model that explains this non-monotonic pattern. Smoking bans provide an exchange opportunity to less popular students. Less popular students who begin smoking validate the risk-taking behavior of existing teenage smokers who, in exchange, provide friend...

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