Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
While the negative impact of tobacco on the health of smokers is well known, the ways in which smoking impacts the health of the smoker’s children is less understood. This study explores whether tobacco expenditure increases the risk of stunting among children under the age of five in Indonesia, where smoking and stunting rates are among the highest in Southeast Asia. Given the severe income constraints faced by poor Indonesian households, large tobacco expenditure potentially “crowds-out” spending on nutrition, worsening the nutritional health of children in smoking households. To examine this relationship, I use a sample of children under the age of 5 from the 2007 and 2014 rounds of the Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS). The IFLS reports extensive health, expenditure, and socio- demographic information for over 30,000 households representing 83% of the population. The longitudinal nature of the IFLS allows me to implement subdistrict fixed effects to control for time-invariant characteristics common to the subdistrict. Additionally, I use cigarette price as an instrument to circumvent the potential endogeneity of tobacco consumption. This study contributes to the health economics literature by revealing how addictive behavior interacts with budgetary decisions to produce external effects on children living in the household. Furthermore, this study illustrates additional health benefits for Indonesian tobacco control, as such policy may impact not only smokers, but children living in smoking households as well.
Helfer, Madeline, "True Price of a Pack: Tobacco Expenditure and Height-for-Age in Indonesia" (2022). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1771.