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The Effect of Maternal Drug Use on Birth Weight: Measurement Error in Binary Variables

  • Kaestner, Robert
  • Joyce, Theodore
  • Wehbeh, Hassan

The authors develop a method to correct for nonrandom measurement error in a binary indicator of illicit drugs. Their results suggest that estimates of the effect of self-reported prenatal drug use on birth weight are biased upwards by measurement error--a finding contrary to predictions of a model of random measurement error. More accurate estimates of the true effect of drug use on birth weight can be obtained by using the predicted probability of falsely reporting drug use. Thus out-of-sample information on drug use may improve estimates of the effect of reported drug use in other settings. Copyright 1996 by Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 34 (1996)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 617-29

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:34:y:1996:i:4:p:617-29
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  1. Grossman, Michael & Joyce, Theodore J, 1990. "Unobservables, Pregnancy Resolutions, and Birth Weight Production Functions in New York City," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 983-1007, October.
  2. Levi, Maurice D, 1973. "Errors in the Variables Bias in the Presence of Correctly Measured Variables," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 985-86, September.
  3. Brownstone, David, 1991. "Multiple Imputations for LInear Regression Models," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt6rv6n3sd, University of California Transportation Center.
  4. Theodore Joyce & Andrew D. Racine & Sandra McCalla & Hassan Wehbeh, 1994. "The Impact of Prenatal Exposure to Cocaine on Newborn Costs and Length of Stay," NBER Working Papers 4673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Theodore Joyce & Andrew D. Racine & Naci Mocan, 1992. "The Consequences and Costs of Maternal Substance Abuse in New York City," NBER Working Papers 3987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Aigner, Dennis J., 1973. "Regression with a binary independent variable subject to errors of observation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 49-59, March.
  7. Theodore Joyce, 1994. "Self-Selection, Prenatal Care, and Birthweight among Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics in New York City," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(3), pages 762-794.
  8. Brownstone, David, 1991. "Multiple Imputations for Linear Regression Models," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt5rv0265r, University of California Transportation Center.
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