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Education and Health: Where There's Smoke There's an Instrument

  • William N. Evans
  • Edward Montgomery

Victor Fuchs has suggested that the persistent positive correlation between education and health habits can be explained by interpersonal differences in the discount rate. If Fuchs is correct, some health habits can be used as instruments for education in standard wage equations. We use whether an individual smoked at age 18 in such a fashion. The instrument is strongly correlated with years of education, and IV estimates of the return to schooling are 10 percent larger than the OLS estimates. We fail to reject tests of overidentifying restrictions, show how the smoking/education link varies systematically across age cohorts and income groups, and demonstrate that the instrument is correlated with other intertemporal decisions such as home ownership. The results are replicated in four additional data sets, and for both males and females.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4949.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4949.

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Date of creation: Dec 1994
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4949
Note: HE LS
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  7. David Card, 1993. "Using Geographic Variation in College Proximity to Estimate the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 4483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Butcher, Kristin F & Case, Anne, 1994. "The Effect of Sibling Sex Composition on Women's Education and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 531-63, August.
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  13. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1991. "Estimating the Payoff to Schooling Using the Vietnam-era Draft Lottery," Working Papers 670, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  14. Schneider, Lynne & Klein, Benjamin & Murphy, Kevin M, 1981. "Governmental Regulation of Cigarette Health Information," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 575-612, December.
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  18. Hamilton, James L, 1972. "The Demand for Cigarettes: Advertising, the Health Scare, and the Cigarette Advertising Ban," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 54(4), pages 401-11, November.
  19. Manning, Willard G. & Blumberg, Linda & Moulton, Lawrence H., 1995. "The demand for alcohol: The differential response to price," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 123-148, June.
  20. David Card, 1994. "Earnings, Schooling, and Ability Revisited," Working Papers 710, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  21. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  22. John Bound & David A. Jaeger & Regina Baker, 1993. "The Cure Can Be Worse than the Disease: A Cautionary Tale Regarding Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
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  25. Willis, Robert J., 1987. "Wage determinants: A survey and reinterpretation of human capital earnings functions," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 525-602 Elsevier.
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