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On the identification of the effect of smoking on mortality

  • Jerome Adda

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and European University Institute)

  • Valérie Lechene

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

This paper considers the identification of the effect of tobacco on mortality. If individuals select into smoking according to some unobserved health characteristic, then estimates of the effect of tobacco on health that do not account for this are biased. We show that using information on mortality, morbidity and smoking, it is possible to control for this selection effect and obtain consistent estimates of the effect of smoking on mortality. We implement our method on Swedish data. We show that there is selection into smoking, and considerable dispersion around the average effect, so that health policies that aim at decreasing smoking prevalence and quantities smoked might have less effect in terms of average number of years of life gained than previously estimated. We also empirically show that selection into smoking has increased over the last fifty years with the availability of information on the dangers of smoking, so that future studies comparing smokers and non smokers will spuriously reveal a worsening effect of tobacco on health if they fail to control for selection.

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File URL: http://cemmap.ifs.org.uk/wps/cwp0413.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series CeMMAP working papers with number CWP13/04.

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Length: 50 pp.
Date of creation: Feb 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:13/04
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  1. Evans, William N. & Ringel, Jeanne S., 1999. "Can higher cigarette taxes improve birth outcomes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 135-154, April.
  2. Sandra L. Decker & Amy Ellen Schwartz, 2000. "Cigarettes and Alcohol: Substitutes or Complements?," NBER Working Papers 7535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kenkel, Donald S, 1991. "Health Behavior, Health Knowledge, and Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 287-305, April.
  4. Antonanzas, Fernando, et al, 2000. " Smoking Risks in Spain: Part I--Perception of Risks to the Smoker," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 21(2-3), pages 161-86, November.
  5. Frank J. Chaloupka & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Matthew C. Farrelly & Lloyd D. Johnston & Patrick M. O'Malley, 1999. "Do Higher Cigarette Prices Encourage Youth to Use Marijuana?," NBER Working Papers 6939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Smith, George Davey & Shipley, Martin J., 1991. "Confounding of occupation and smoking: Its magnitude and consequences," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 1297-1300, January.
  7. Philip DeCicca & Donald Kenkel & Alan Mathios, 2002. "Putting Out the Fires: Will Higher Taxes Reduce the Onset of Youth Smoking?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 144-169, February.
  8. Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. "Do Smokers Underestimate Risks?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1253-69, December.
  9. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  10. Sterling, T. & Weinkam, J., 1990. "The confounding of occupation and smoking and its consequences," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 457-467, January.
  11. Gary S. Becker & Michael Grossman & Kevin M. Murphy, 1990. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction," NBER Working Papers 3322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Rogers, Richard G. & Powell-Griner, Eve, 1991. "Life expectancies of cigarette smokers and nonsmokers in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1151-1159, January.
  13. 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.
  14. Chaloupka, Frank, 1991. "Rational Addictive Behavior and Cigarette Smoking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 722-42, August.
  15. Dee, Thomas S., 1999. "The complementarity of teen smoking and drinking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 769-793, December.
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