The Intergenerational Transmission of Smoking and Schooling

Vida Maralani, Yale University
Douglas McKee, Yale University

Across birth cohorts of Americans, education and smoking status in families of origin have become more aligned. Over time, men who smoke became more likely to marry women who smoke, especially among couples with less schooling. We examine how much this alignment of smoking and education matters for children’s life chances. We use a two-sex demographic projection model, which accounts for the statuses of both men and women, combined with simulations to examine how changes in assortative mating affect the distribution of smoking and education in future generations. The model incorporates assortative mating, differential fertility, and the transmission of status. Preliminary findings show that intergenerational results depend on which cohort’s marriage and fertility rules are applied and whether we consider smoking status as a binary status or a quantitative one. But these differences, though descriptively important, are modest. Mobility across generations dominates the effects of assortative mating in the population.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 10: Generational Exchanges and Relationships