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On the Identification of the Effect of Smoking on Mortality

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  • Valerie Lechene
  • Jerome Adda

Abstract

This paper considers the identification of the effect of tobacco on mortality. If individuals select into smoking according to some unobserved health characteristic, then estimates of the effect of tobacco on health that do not account for this are biased. We show that using information on mortality, morbidity and smoking, it is possible to control for this selection effect and obtain consistent estimates of the effect of smoking on mortality. We implement our method on Swedish data. We show that there is selection into smoking, and considerable dispersion around the average effect, so that health policies that aim at decreasing smoking prevalence and quantities smoked might have less effect in terms of average number of years of life gained than previously estimated. We also empirically show that selection into smoking has increased over the last fifty years with the availability of information on the dangers of smoking, so that future studies comparing smokers and nonsmokers will spuriously reveal a worsening effect of tobacco on health if they fail to control for selection.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 184.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2004
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:184

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Keywords: Health; Duration; Smoking; Selection; Mortality; Life Expectancy; Causality;

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References

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  1. Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. "Do Smokers Underestimate Risks?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1253-69, December.
  2. Sandra L. Decker & Amy Ellen Schwartz, 2000. "Cigarettes and Alcohol: Substitutes or Complements?," NBER Working Papers 7535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Smith, George Davey & Shipley, Martin J., 1991. "Confounding of occupation and smoking: Its magnitude and consequences," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 1297-1300, January.
  4. Frank J. Chaloupka & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Matthew C. Farrelly & Lloyd D. Johnston & Patrick M. O'Malley, 1999. "Do Higher Cigarette Prices Encourage Youth to Use Marijuana?," NBER Working Papers 6939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gary S. Becker & Michael Grossman & Kevin M. Murphy, 1990. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State 61, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  6. Frank J. Chaloupka, 1990. "Rational Addictive Behavior and Cigarette Smoking," NBER Working Papers 3268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  8. Kenkel, D.S., 1988. "Health Behavior, Health Knowledge, And Schooling," Papers, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics 10-88-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  9. William N. Evans & Jeanne S. Ringel, 1997. "Can Higher Cigarette Taxes Improve Birth Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 5998, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Dee, Thomas S., 1999. "The complementarity of teen smoking and drinking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 769-793, December.
  11. Sterling, T. & Weinkam, J., 1990. "The confounding of occupation and smoking and its consequences," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 457-467, January.
  12. Rogers, Richard G. & Powell-Griner, Eve, 1991. "Life expectancies of cigarette smokers and nonsmokers in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1151-1159, January.
  13. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  14. Antonanzas, Fernando, et al, 2000. " Smoking Risks in Spain: Part I--Perception of Risks to the Smoker," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, Springer, vol. 21(2-3), pages 161-86, November.
  15. Philip DeCicca & Donald Kenkel & Alan Mathios, 2002. "Putting Out the Fires: Will Higher Taxes Reduce the Onset of Youth Smoking?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 144-169, February.
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Cited by:
  1. S. Balia & AM. Jones, 2004. "Mortality, Lifestyle and Socio-Economic Status," Working Paper CRENoS 200416, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  2. Sunder, Marco, 2005. "Toward generation XL: Anthropometrics of longevity in late 20th-century United States," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 271-295, July.
  3. Stanciole, Anderson, 2007. "Health Insurance and Life Style Choices: Identifying the Ex Ante Moral Hazard," IRISS Working Paper Series, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD 2007-10, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
  4. Grignon, Michel, 2009. "An empirical investigation of heterogeneity in time preferences and smoking behaviors," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 739-751, October.
  5. Pedro Rosa Dias, 2010. "Modelling opportunity in health under partial observability of circumstances," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 252-264.
  6. Silvia Balia & Andrew M. Jones, 2007. "Unravelling the influence of smoking initiation and cessation on premature mortality using a common latent factor model," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York 07/06, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.

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