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Education, Information and Smoking Decisions: Evidence from Smoking Histories in the United States, 1940–2000

  • Damien de Walque

This paper tests the hypothesis that education improves health and increases life expectancy. The analysis of smoking histories shows that after 1950, when information about the dangers of tobacco started to diffuse, the prevalence of smoking declined earlier and most dramatically for college graduates. I construct panels based on smoking histories in an attempt to isolate the causal effect of smoking from the influence of time-invariant unobservable characteristics. The results suggest that, at least among women, college education has a negative effect on smoking prevalence and that more educated individuals responded faster to the diffusion of information on the dangers of smoking.

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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 45 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 ()

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:45:y:2010:iii:1:p682-717
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  1. Fuchs, Victor R. (ed.), 1982. "Economic Aspects of Health," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226267852, March.
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  5. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother'S Education And The Intergenerational Transmission Of Human Capital: Evidence From College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532, November.
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  7. Kelly Bedard & Olivier Desch�nes, 2006. "The Long-Term Impact of Military Service on Health: Evidence from World War II and Korean War Veterans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 176-194, March.
  8. Hahn, Jinyong, 2001. "Comment: Binary Regressors in Nonlinear Panel-Data Models with Fixed Effects," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(1), pages 16-17, January.
  9. Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. "Do Smokers Underestimate Risks?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1253-69, December.
  10. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
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