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Education, information, and smoking decisions : evidence from smoking histories, 1940-2000

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  • de Walque, Damien

Abstract

The author tests the hypothesis that education improves health and increases people's life expectancy. Smoking histories-reconstructed from retrospective data in the National Health Interview Surveys in the United States-show that after 1950, when information about the dangers associated with tobacco consumption started to diffuse, the prevalence of smoking declined earlier and most dramatically for college graduates. More educated individuals are also more likely to quit smoking: incidence analysis of smoking cessation shows a strong education effect. The instrumental variable approach, which relies on the fact that during the Vietnam War college attendance provided a strategy to avoid the draft, indicates that education does affect decisions about whether to smoke or stop smoking.

Suggested Citation

  • de Walque, Damien, 2004. "Education, information, and smoking decisions : evidence from smoking histories, 1940-2000," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3362, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3362
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Anderberg, Dan & Chevalier, Arnaud & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2011. "Anatomy of a health scare: Education, income and the MMR controversy in the UK," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 515-530, May.
    2. Grimard, Franque & Parent, Daniel, 2007. "Education and smoking: Were Vietnam war draft avoiders also more likely to avoid smoking?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 896-926, September.
    3. Jérôme Adda & Valérie Lechene, 2013. "Health Selection and the Effect of Smoking on Mortality," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(3), pages 902-931, July.
    4. David M. Cutler & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2012. "Education and Health: Insights from International Comparisons," NBER Working Papers 17738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ingmar, SCHUMACHER, 2006. "On optimality, endogeneous discounting and wealth accumulation," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2006058, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    6. Chen, Keith & Lange, Fabian, 2008. "Education, Information, and Improved Health: Evidence from Breast Cancer Screening," IZA Discussion Papers 3548, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Carbone, Jared C. & Kverndokk, Snorre, 2014. "Individual investments in education and health," HERO Online Working Paper Series 2014:1, University of Oslo, Health Economics Research Programme.
    8. 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.
    9. Smith, William C. & Anderson, Emily & Salinas, Daniel & Horvatek, Renata & Baker, David P., 2015. "A meta-analysis of education effects on chronic disease: The causal dynamics of the Population Education Transition Curve," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 29-40.

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