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Education and Health: Where There's Smoke There's an Instrument

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  • William N. Evans
  • Edward Montgomery

Abstract

Victor Fuchs has suggested that the persistent positive correlation between education and health habits can be explained by interpersonal differences in the discount rate. If Fuchs is correct, some health habits can be used as instruments for education in standard wage equations. We use whether an individual smoked at age 18 in such a fashion. The instrument is strongly correlated with years of education, and IV estimates of the return to schooling are 10 percent larger than the OLS estimates. We fail to reject tests of overidentifying restrictions, show how the smoking/education link varies systematically across age cohorts and income groups, and demonstrate that the instrument is correlated with other intertemporal decisions such as home ownership. The results are replicated in four additional data sets, and for both males and females.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4949.

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Date of creation: Dec 1994
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4949

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  1. Geronimus, Arline T & Korenman, Sanders, 1992. "The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1187-214, November.
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  8. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  9. David Card, 1993. "Using Geographic Variation in College Proximity to Estimate the Return to Schooling," Working Papers 696, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  10. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1991. "Estimating the Payoff to Schooling Using the Vietnam-era Draft Lottery," Working Papers 670, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  11. Butcher, Kristin F & Case, Anne, 1994. "The Effect of Sibling Sex Composition on Women's Education and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 531-63, August.
  12. Orley Ashenfelter & David J. Zimmerman, 1997. "Estimates Of The Returns To Schooling From Sibling Data: Fathers, Sons, And Brothers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 1-9, February.
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  25. repec:fth:prinin:290 is not listed on IDEAS
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