IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/15840.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Education, Knowledge and the Evolution of Disparities in Health

Author

Listed:
  • Anna Aizer
  • Laura Stroud

Abstract

We study how advances in scientific knowledge affect the evolution of disparities in health. Our focus is the 1964 Surgeon General Report on Smoking and Health - the first widely publicized report of the negative effects of smoking on health. Using an historical dataset that includes the smoking habits of pregnant women 1959-1966, we find that immediately after the 1964 Report, more educated mothers immediately reduced their smoking as measured by both self-reports and serum cotinine levels, while the less educated did not, and that the relative health of their newborns likewise increased. We also find strong peer effects in the response to information: after the 1964 report, educated women surrounded by other educated women were more likely to reduce smoking relative to those surrounded by less educated women. Over time, the education gradient in both smoking and newborn health continued to increase, peaking in the 1980s and then shrinking, eventually returning to initial levels. These results can explain why in an era of great advancements in medical knowledge, health disparities may actually increase, at least initially.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Aizer & Laura Stroud, 2010. "Education, Knowledge and the Evolution of Disparities in Health," NBER Working Papers 15840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15840
    Note: CH HE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15840.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Diana S. Lien & William N. Evans, 2005. "Estimating the Impact of Large Cigarette Tax Hikes: The Case of Maternal Smoking and Infant Birth Weight," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    2. Angus Deaton, 2003. "Health, Inequality, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 113-158, March.
    3. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439.
    4. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2003. "Socioeconomic Status and Child Health: Why Is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1813-1823, December.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. David Cutler & Angus Deaton & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. "The Determinants of Mortality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 97-120, Summer.
    9. Sloan, Frank A. & Smith, V. Kerry & Taylor, Donald Jr., 2002. "Information, addiction, and 'bad choices': lessons from a century of cigarettes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 147-155, October.
    10. Grossman, Michael & Joyce, Theodore J, 1990. "Unobservables, Pregnancy Resolutions, and Birth Weight Production Functions in New York City," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 983-1007, October.
    11. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2005. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1031-1083.
    12. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, April.
    13. 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.
    14. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
    15. Brachet, Tanguy, 2008. "Maternal Smoking, Misclassification, and Infant Health," MPRA Paper 21466, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. repec:ucn:wpaper:10197/317 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Price, Joseph & Price, Joshua & Simon, Kosali, 2011. "Educational gaps in medical care and health behavior: Evidence from US Natality data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 838-849, October.
    2. Donald S. Kenkel & Maximilian D. Schmeiser & Carly Urban, 2014. "Is Smoking Inferior?: Evidence from Variation in the Earned Income Tax Credit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(4), pages 1094-1120.
    3. Cutler, David M. & Huang, Wei & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2015. "When does education matter? The protective effect of education for cohorts graduating in bad times," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 63-73.
    4. Carneiro, Pedro & Lopez Garcia, Italo & Salvanes, Kjell G. & Tominey, Emma, 2015. "Intergenerational Mobility and the Timing of Parental Income," IZA Discussion Papers 9479, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Jason Fletcher & David Frisvold, 2014. "The long run health returns to college quality," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 295-325, June.
    6. David Frisvold & Ezra Golberstein, 2013. "The Effect of School Quality on Black-White Health Differences: Evidence From Segregated Southern Schools," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(6), pages 1989-2012, December.
    7. Daniela Iorio & Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis, 2011. "Education, HIV Status, and Risky Sexual Behavior: How Much Does the Stage of the HIV Epidemic Matter?," Working Papers 624, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    8. Chatterji, P & Joo, H & Lahiri, K, 2011. "Beware of Being Unaware: Racial Disparities in Chronic Illness in the US," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 11/11, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    9. Altindag, Duha & Cannonier, Colin & Mocan, Naci, 2011. "The impact of education on health knowledge," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 792-812, October.
    10. Pinka Chatterji & Heesoo Joo & Kajal Lahiri, 2010. "Beware of Unawareness: Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Awareness of Chronic Diseases," NBER Working Papers 16578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Andrew Sharpe & Alexander Murray, 2011. "State of the Evidence on Health as a Determinant of Productivity," CSLS Research Reports 2011-04, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    12. Eide, Eric R. & Showalter, Mark H., 2011. "Estimating the relation between health and education: What do we know and what do we need to know?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 778-791, October.
    13. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2011. "Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 153-172, Summer.
    14. Carbone, Jared C. & Kverndokk, Snorre, 2014. "Individual investments in education and health," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2014:1, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
    15. Frisvold, David & Golberstein, Ezra, 2011. "School quality and the education–health relationship: Evidence from Blacks in segregated schools," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1232-1245.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15840. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.