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Does staying in school (and not working) prevent teen smoking and drinking?

Robert Jensen and Adriana Lleras-Muney

Journal of Health Economics, 2012, vol. 31, issue 4, 644-657

Abstract: Previous work suggests but cannot prove that education improves health behaviors. We exploit a randomized intervention that increased schooling (and reduced working) among male students in the Dominican Republic, by providing information on the returns to schooling. We find that treated youths were much less likely to smoke at age 18 and had delayed onset of daily or regular drinking. The effects appear to be due to changes in peer networks and disposable income. We find no evidence of a direct impact of schooling on rates of time preference, attitudes towards risk or perceptions that drinking or smoking are harmful to health, though our measures of these factors are more limited.

Keywords: Health and socioeconomic status; Smoking; Drinking (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I14 I12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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