IZA DP No. 7434: Sinners or Saints? Preachers' Kids and Risky Health Behaviors
published in: Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 2014, 35 (4), 464-476
This paper examines parental influence on adolescent risky behavior, focusing on a unique population: children of the clergy, more commonly known as preachers' kids (PKs). We use latent variable and zero-inflated count models to analyze the effect of being a PK on both uptake and intensity of use of alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and other drugs. We find that being a PK significantly reduces alcohol use. This effect comes exclusively from a reduction in the probability of any alcohol use and this increased abstinence among children of the clergy persists into adulthood. These results are consistent with popular conceptions that PKs either take no risks or take large risks. We find no significant effects of being a PK on cigarette uptake or intensity of use but some evidence of a negative PK effect on the uptake of marijuana and other drugs.