Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #64

Smoking in Germany: Stylized Facts, Behavioral Models, and Health Policy

by Silja Göhlmann and Christoph M. Schmidt

RWI, 08/2008, 38 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-068-8

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Abstract

It is well known that smoking causes severe adverse health effects, and it seems evident that governments are justified or even obliged to implement measures of tobacco control to mitigate these effects. Yet, as this paper argues with a distinct focus on Germany, the three most important and still largely open questions in the design and implementation of economic and health policy are, whether government action is justified at all, what behavioral patterns this policy should try to alter, and whether the policy measures chosen indeed exert any substantial effects on the targeted outcomes. We conclude that the case for control measures aiming at the prevention of smoking initiation among adolescents is indeed strong, but also that their proper design would benefit from a better understanding of behavioral issues and that their empirical evaluation requires (non-experimental) study designs that facilitate the identification of causal effects.

JEL-Classification: I11, I12, I18

Keywords: Tobacco; tobacco control; rational addiction

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