The economic value of teeth

Sherry Glied, Matthew Neidell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of oral health on labor market outcomes by exploiting variation in fluoridated water exposure during childhood. The politics surrounding the adoption of water fluoridation by local governments suggests exposure to fluoride is exogenous to other factors affecting earnings. Exposure to fluoridated water increases women's earnings by approximately 4 percent, but has no detectable effect for men. Furthermore, the effect is largely concentrated amongst women from families of low socioeconomic status. We find little evidence to support occupational sorting, statistical discrimination, and productivity as potential channels, with some evidence supporting consumer and possibly employer discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-496
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Human Resources
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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