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Friday, May 25, 2012

Does Staying in school (AND NOT WORKING) Prevent Teen Smoking and Drinking?

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.

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