Maternal Smoking Behavior and Peer Effects

Director: Anna Aizer
Research Theme: Persistent Disparities in Health and Human Capital
Location: United States of America

Aizer, along with Laura Stroud in Community Health, is examining the role of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on maternal smoking in changing smoking behavior during pregnancy and how these changes spread across educational groups. Their results suggest that not only were the educated more responsive to the initial announcement but, consistent with a peer-effects model, smoking reductions among the educated were more dramatic in areas of high educational segregation. Over time the information about the adverse effects of smoking diffused to less-educated women and the gradient disappeared.