Does Early Life Exposure to Cigarette Smoke Permanently Harm Childhood Health? Evidence from Cigarette Tax Hikes
AbstractRecent evidence suggests that smoking during pregnancy has adverse effects on fetal health. However, it remains unknown if smoke exposure causes lasting harm to health through childhood. To mitigate omitted variables bias, I exploit variation in cigarette taxes. By leveraging cigarette tax hikes, I shed light on the ability of these taxes to change health behavior in a way that improves long-term child outcomes. In-utero exposure to a tax hike leads to large and significant improvements to a child’s wellbeing. I find that a one dollar increase (in 2009 dollars) in the state cigarette excise tax causes a 10% decrease in sick days from school, and a 4.5% decrease in the likelihood of having two or more doctor visits in the past 12 months. I also find suggestive evidence that early life exposure to a cigarette tax hike decreases hospitalizations and asthma attacks. I find support for my identifying assumptions in a number of falsification tests. This study supports the hypothesis that that in-utero exposure to cigarette smoke caries significant medium-term costs.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2013-21.
Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
- I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-09-06 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEM-2013-09-06 (Demographic Economics)
- NEP-HEA-2013-09-06 (Health Economics)
- NEP-PBE-2013-09-06 (Public Economics)
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