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Author: Darden, Michael E.
Resulting in 2 citations.
1. Darden, Michael E.
Cities and Smoking
Journal of Urban Economics 122 (March 2021): 103319.
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: Elsevier
Keyword(s): Geocoded Data; Rural/Urban Differences; Smoking (see Cigarette Use)

In 1956, 52% of urban men and 42% of rural men smoked cigarettes. By 2010, the disparity had flipped: 24.7% of urban men and 30.6% of rural men smoked. Smoking remains the greatest preventable cause of mortality in the United States, and understanding the underlying causes of place-specific differences in behavior is crucial for policy aimed at reducing regional inequality. Using geocoded data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Cohort, I estimate a dynamic model that captures smoking behavior, location decisions, and education over thirty years. Simulation of the estimated model demonstrates that selection on permanent unobserved variables that are correlated with smoking cessation, both in native populations and in those who migrate between rural and urban areas, explains 70.9% of the urban/rural smoking disparity. Alternatively, differential tobacco control policies explain only 9.6% of the urban/rural smoking disparity, which suggests that equalizing cigarette taxes across regions may fail to bridge gaps in behavior and health. This paper emphasizes that rural smoking disparities are largely driven by who selects into rural communities.
Bibliography Citation
Darden, Michael E. "Cities and Smoking." Journal of Urban Economics 122 (March 2021): 103319.
2. Darden, Michael E.
Hotchkiss, Julie L.
Pitts, M. Melinda
The Dynamics of the Smoking Wage Penalty
Journal of Health Economics 79 (September 2021): 102485.
Cohort(s): NLSY97
Publisher: Elsevier
Keyword(s): Geocoded Data; Human Capital; Smoking (see Cigarette Use); Unemployment Rate, Regional; Wage Gap

Cigarette smokers earn significantly less than nonsmokers, but the magnitude of the smoking wage gap and the pathways by which it originates are unclear. Proposed mechanisms often focus on spot differences in employee productivity or employer preferences, neglecting the dynamic nature of human capital development and addiction. In this paper, we formulate a dynamic model of young workers as they transition from schooling to the labor market, a period in which the lifetime trajectory of wages is being developed. We estimate the model with data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 Cohort, and we simulate the model under counterfactual scenarios that isolate the contemporaneous effects of smoking from dynamic differences in human capital accumulation and occupational selection. Results from our preferred model, which accounts for unobserved heterogeneity in the joint determination of smoking, human capital, labor supply, and wages, suggest that continued heavy smoking in young adulthood results in a wage penalty at age 30 of 15.9% and 15.2% for women and men, respectively. These differences are much smaller than the raw difference in means in wages at age 30. We show that the contemporaneous effect of heavy smoking net of any life-cycle effects explains 62.9% of the female smoking wage gap but only 20.4% of the male smoking wage gap.
Bibliography Citation
Darden, Michael E., Julie L. Hotchkiss and M. Melinda Pitts. "The Dynamics of the Smoking Wage Penalty." Journal of Health Economics 79 (September 2021): 102485.