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J Health Econ. 2007 Sep 1;26(5):877-95. Epub 2006 Dec 30.

Does education affect smoking behaviors? Evidence using the Vietnam draft as an instrument for college education.

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Development Research Group, The World Bank, Washington, DC 20433, USA.


This paper tests the hypothesis that education improves health and increases people's life expectancy. It does so by analyzing the effect of education on smoking behaviors. To account for the endogeneity of smoking, the analysis develops an instrumental variable approach which relies on the fact that during the Vietnam War college attendance provided a strategy to avoid the draft. The results indicate that education does affect smoking decisions: educated individuals are less likely to smoke, and among those who initiated smoking, they are more likely to have stopped.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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