"Health Beliefs and the Long Run Effects of Medical Information" - Jérôme Adda, Bocconi University

May 6, 1:20 pm2:35 pm


Event Description

Jérôme Adda is a professor of Economics at Bocconi University. His research interests include Health Economics, Labor Economics and Macroeconomics.


This paper studies the role of information on the evolution of beliefs and smoking in the United States in the 20th and early 21st centuries. We develop a dynamic and dynastic model of smoking, mortality and beliefs. The information about the harmfulness of smoking comes from three different sources: (i) medical information or public health messages, including obfuscation from the tobacco industry, (ii) learning from individual health shocks, and (iii) social learning, understood as the diffusion of information and beliefs within and across social groups over time. We estimate the model using data on smoking behavior, health information and data on beliefs on the effect of smoking on health that cover several decades and different social groups. The estimated model shows that each of these mechanisms played an important role in the formation of beliefs about the harmfulness of smoking, and that social learning was particularly important for low educated individuals.