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Teen Smoking and Birth Outcomes

  • MaryBeth Walker
  • Erdal Tekin
  • Sally Wallace

In the U.S. teen mothers are more likely to give birth to low birth weight babies than non-teen mothers. There is also substantial evidence that smoking is a risk factor correlated with low birth weight. Low birth weight is a costly outcome in both the short and long term for parents, children, and society at large. This paper examines the causal link between teen age 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 non-teen mothers. We find that both OLS and matching estimator results yield large impacts of smoking on birth weight for teens and adults. However, when we control for unobservables through a fixed effects model, the impact of smoking on birth weight is diminished and there are relatively small differences in the impact of smoking on birth weight between teens and non-teens.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13386.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13386.

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Date of creation: Sep 2007
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Publication status: published as Mary Beth Walker & Erdal Tekin & Sally Wallace, 2009. "Teen Smoking and Birth Outcomes," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 892–907, January.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13386
Note: CH HE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
  2. Jason Abrevaya, 2006. "Estimating the effect of smoking on birth outcomes using a matched panel data approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(4), pages 489-519.
  3. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2004. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," NBER Working Papers 10552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Abrevaya, Jason & Dahl, Christian M, 2008. "The Effects of Birth Inputs on Birthweight," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 26, pages 379-397.
  5. William N. Evans & Jeanne S. Ringel, 1997. "Can Higher Cigarette Taxes Improve Birth Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 5998, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2002. "Simple and Bias-Corrected Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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