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The authors study how advances in scientific knowledge affect the evolution of disparities in health. The focus is the 1964 Surgeon General Report on Smoking and Health - the first widely publicized report of the negative effects of smoking on health. Using an historical dataset that includes the smoking habits of pregnant women 1959-1966, they find that immediately after the 1964 Report, more educated mothers immediately reduced their smoking as measured by both self-reports and serum cotinine levels, while the less educated did not, and that the relative health of their newborns likewise increased.
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