The Effect Of Public Policies On Smoking Behaviors: Perspectives From A Developing Country.
Hinging on economic theory predictions, this dissertation empirically examines the extent to which public policies influence youths and young adults smoking behaviors in Mexico. In the following, the decision to conduct the analysis separate for men and for women, in acknowledgement of separate gender paradigms, has yielded illuminating insights. This study contains three separate but related essays. The first essay develops a new index of clean indoor air policies, analyzing the role of these policies --and other variables-- as determinants of cigarette consumption. The new index and previously developed indices are positively correlated, but imperfectly so. More stringent laws are negatively associated with the number of cigarettes smoked by men, but have no influence on smoking participation for either men or women. The statistical and economically meaningful predictors of smoking vary with the dependent variable (i.e. smoking participation and conditional intensity), and by gender. The second essay investigates the causal effect of Oportunidades, a federal social program, on the smoking behaviors of its participants. I find that the unbundled components of the program, inclusive of sizable cash transfers, health information sessions and schooling, have no effect on adult smoking; they have a small positive effect on adolescent's cigarette consumption. Differential program treatments by sex position the research to isolate the effect of income, which shall be demonstrated to be not-statistically different from zero. Null effects for women and adolescents are consistent with either: a) effects of each benefit in different directions that offset each other, or b) a zero effect of all components. The third essay measures, and disentangles, the correlation between schooling and smoking. The positive association among women is shown to be due to unobserved heterogeneity. Smoking is more prevalent among more sophisticated women coming from better-off backgrounds. Conversely, "Third Factors" are not found to be behind the negative association between schooling and smoking among men. Using variation in junior high school classroom openings during the nineties to deal with the endogeneity of schooling, I find that higher educational achievement may cause less smoking among men.
dissertation or thesis