Glancing at the previous work of Matthew Neidell (see previous post) I noticed he had published the paper called "The Economic Value of Teeth".
Matthew sounds like my kinda academic. One of the best paper titles I have seen for a while. How I missed this back in 2008 I don't know.
The result - good teeth influences earnings. This is a US study where I expect the teeth quality variation is fairly low. In the UK on the other hand the average teeth quality must be much lower and hence there should be a much higher variance.
The Economic Value of Teeth
Columbia University - Mailman School of Public Health; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Columbia University; University of Chicago - Department of Economics and CISES
NBER Working Paper No. W13879
Healthy teeth are a vital and visible component of general well-being, but there is little systematic evidence to demonstrate their economic value. In this paper, we examine one element of that value, the effect of oral health on labor market outcomes, by exploiting variation in access to fluoridated water during childhood. The politics surrounding the adoption of water fluoridation by local water districts suggests exposure to fluoride during childhood is exogenous to other factors affecting earnings. We find that women who resided in communities with fluoridated water during childhood earn approximately 4% more than women who did not, but we find no effect of fluoridation for men. Furthermore, the effect is almost exclusively concentrated amongst women from families of low socioeconomic status. We find little evidence to support occupational sorting, statistical discrimination, and productivity as potential channels of these effects, suggesting consumer and employer discrimination are the likely driving factors whereby oral health affects earnings.
JEL Classifications: I12, I18
Working Paper Series