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Educational differences in smoking: selection versus causation

Listed author(s):
  • Hendrik Jürges

    ()

    (Schumpeter School of Business and Economics, University of Wuppertal)

  • Sophie-Charlotte Meyer

    (Schumpeter School of Business and Economics, University of Wuppertal)

Registered author(s):

    We investigate sources of educational differences in smoking. Using a large German data set containing retrospective information on the age at smoking onset, we compare age-specific hazard rates of starting smoking between (future) low and high educated individuals. We find that up to 90% of the educational differences in smoking develop before the age of 16, i.e. before compulsory schooling is completed. This education gap persists into adulthood. Further, we examine the role of health-related knowledge (proxied by working in health-related occupations) and find it hardly explains smoking decisions. Our findings suggest that (unobserved) factors determining both the selection into smoking and education are almost exclusively responsible for educational differences in smoking. Only small parts of the education gap seem to be caused by general or health-specific education. The effectiveness of education policy to combat smoking is thus likely limited.

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    File URL: http://elpub.bib.uni-wuppertal.de/edocs/dokumente/fbb/wirtschaftswissenschaft/sdp/sdp17/sdp17001.pdf
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    Paper provided by Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library in its series Schumpeter Discussion Papers with number SDP17001.

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    Length: 44
    Date of creation: Feb 2017
    Handle: RePEc:bwu:schdps:sdp17001
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://elpub.bib.uni-wuppertal.de

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    16. Pampel, Fred & Legleye, Stephane & Goffette, Céline & Piontek, Daniela & Kraus, Ludwig & Khlat, Myriam, 2015. "Cohort changes in educational disparities in smoking: France, Germany and the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 41-50.
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    18. de Walque, Damien, 2007. "Does education affect smoking behaviors?: Evidence using the Vietnam draft as an instrument for college education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 877-895, September.
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