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Educational differences in smoking: selection versus causation

Author

Listed:
  • Hendrik Jürges

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

  • Sophie-Charlotte Meyer

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hendrik Jürges & Sophie-Charlotte Meyer, 2017. "Educational differences in smoking: selection versus causation," Schumpeter Discussion Papers SDP17001, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:bwu:schdps:sdp17001
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    File URL: http://elpub.bib.uni-wuppertal.de/edocs/dokumente/fbb/wirtschaftswissenschaft/sdp/sdp17/sdp17001.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mathias Huebener, 2017. "Intergenerational Effects of Education on Risky Health Behaviours and Long-Term Health," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1709, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; smoking initiation; health-related knowledge;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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