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Maternal Smoking, Misclassification, and Infant Health

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  • Brachet, Tanguy

Abstract

Identifying the causal effect of prenatal maternal smoking on infant health is complicated by unobservable maternal characteristics and behaviors which are plausibly related to both birth outcomes and a mother’s propensity to smoke. Previous studies have addressed the omitted variables problem using instrumental variables (IV) techniques. However, with self-reported data on maternal smoking, misreporting can induce more severe biases in IV estimates than in OLS. This paper proposes an approach based on parametric methods for misclassified binary dependent variables that simultaneously addresses the endogeneity and measurement error problems. The relationship between infant health and maternal smoking is then re-examined using US Birth Records. I find that roughly 30% of smoking mothers are misclassified as non-smokers. As a result, conventional IV estimates deliver implausibly large birth weight losses (upwards of 1,000 grams among African Americans). Accounting for misclassification yields estimates that are considerably smaller in magnitude and more consistent with experimental evidence.

Suggested Citation

  • Brachet, Tanguy, 2008. "Maternal Smoking, Misclassification, and Infant Health," MPRA Paper 21466, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21466
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/21466/1/MPRA_paper_21466.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lorenzo Almada & Rusty Tchernis, 2016. "Measuring Effects of Snap on Obesity at the Intensive Margin," Working Papers id:11369, eSocialSciences.
    2. Lorenzo Almada & Ian McCarthy & Rusty Tchernis, 2016. "What Can We Learn about the Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity in the Presence of Misreporting?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 98(4), pages 997-1017.
    3. Leah K. Lakdawala & David Simon, 2016. "The Intergenerational Consequences of Tobacco Policy," Working papers 2016-27, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    4. Fletcher, Jason M. & Green, Jeremy C. & Neidell, Matthew J., 2010. "Long term effects of childhood asthma on adult health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 377-387, May.
    5. Anna Aizer & Laura Stroud, 2010. "Education, Knowledge and the Evolution of Disparities in Health," NBER Working Papers 15840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Aoki, Yu & Santiago, Lualhati, 2018. "Deprivation, Segregation, and Socioeconomic Class of UK Immigrants: Does English Proficiency Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 11368, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. David Simon, 2013. "Does Early Life Exposure to Cigarette Smoke Permanently Harm Childhood Health? Evidence from Cigarette Tax Hikes," Working papers 2013-21, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised May 2015.
    8. Clarke, Andrew & Isphording, Ingo E., 2015. "Language Barriers and Immigrant Health Production," IZA Discussion Papers 8846, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Misclassification; prenatal maternal smoking; birth outcomes;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • C30 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - General

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