Is Smoking Behavior Culturally Determined? Evidence from British Immigrants
NBER Working Paper No. 19036
We exploit migration patterns from the UK to Australia, South Africa, and the US to investigate whether a person’s decision to smoke is determined by culture. For each country, we use retrospective data to describe individual smoking trajectories over the life-course. For the UK, we use these trajectories to measure culture by cohort and cohort-age, and more accurately relative to the extant literature. Our proxy predicts smoking participation of second-generation British immigrants but not that of non-British immigrants and natives. Researchers can apply our strategy to estimate culture effects on other outcomes when retrospective or longitudinal data are available.