Teen Smoking and Birth Outcomes
Teen mothers in the United States are more likely to give birth to low birth weight babies. Substantial evidence indicates that smoking is a risk factor correlated with low birth weight. Low birth weight is a costly outcome for parents, children, and society at large. This paper examines the causal link between teen smoking behavior and low birth weight. We use a variety of empirical techniques, including fixed effects and a matching estimator, to identify the impact of smoking on babies of teen and nonteen mothers. Both ordinary least squares and matching estimators yield large impacts of smoking on birth weight for teens and adults. However, to the extent that unobservables are fixed over time, they can be controlled using fixed effects. These estimates indicate that the impact of smoking on birth weight is diminished, and there are small differences in the impact of smoking on birth weight between teens and nonteens.
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Volume (Year): 75 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (January)
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