Smoking Habits: Like Father, Like Son, Like Mother, Like Daughter?


  • The authors thank, without implicating, conference and seminar participants at ESPE, ISER and FEDEA, Vincenzo Atella, Sascha O. Becker, Lorenzo Cappellari, Dimitrios Christelis, Lídia Farré, Charles Grant, Stephen Jenkins, José María Labeaga, Matilde P. Machado and Julián Messina for their helpful comments. Daniela Vuri is also an IZA (Bonn, Germany) Research Fellow and is affiliated to CHILD (Turin, Italy) and CESifo (Munich, Germany). Anna Sanz-de-Galdeano is also an IZA (Bonn, Germany) Research Fellow and is affiliated to the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE, Barcelona, Spain). She acknowledges financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology grant SEJ2007-62500, the Barcelona GSE Research Network and the Government of Catalonia.


We use instrumental variable methods to investigate whether the impact of parental smoking habits on their children's smoking decisions is a causal one. We find suggestive evidence of same-sex role models in two-parent households: mothers play a more crucial role in determining their daughters’ smoking decisions, whereas fathers’ smoking habits are primarily imitated by their sons. This same-sex parent–child link is no longer at play for teenagers living in single-mother households, for whom the influence of their only cohabiting parent turns out to be predominant independently of gender.