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Estimating the relation between health and education: What do we know and what do we need to know?

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  • Eide, Eric R.
  • Showalter, Mark H.
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    Abstract

    The empirical link between education and health is firmly established. Numerous studies document that higher levels of education are positively associated with longer life and better health throughout the lifespan. But measuring the causal links between education and health is a more challenging task. Aside from the typical econometric concerns about measurement error, functional form, and sampling properties, measuring the causal impact of education on health is confounded by the likely causal effect of health on education, and vice versa. Concerns about 'missing' variables that affect both the accumulation of human capital and the health capital - such as measures of individual discount rates - also make causality difficult to measure. Despite the difficulties, there has been a marked surge over the last decade in the number of empirical studies attempting to estimate the causal links between education and health. This survey reviews recent empirical evidence on the topic. Following the bifurcation in the literature, we split the survey into two pieces. First, we review the evidence of the effect of education on health. The vast majority of work in this area focuses on schooling up through college and its effect on adult health, including longevity. Second, we review the evidence of the effect of health on education, including health shocks in the womb and their effects on educational attainment. Rather than attempting a comprehensive review, our focus is to highlight relatively recent research.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

    Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 5 (October)
    Pages: 778-791

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:30:y:2011:i:5:p:778-791

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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    Keywords: Health Education Causal effects;

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    2. Friedline, Terri & Elliott, William & Nam, Ilsung, 2013. "Small-dollar children's saving accounts and children's college outcomes by race," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 548-559.
    3. Jenny Torssander, 2013. "From Child to Parent? The Significance of Children’s Education for Their Parents’ Longevity," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 637-659, April.
    4. Raquel Fonseca & Yuhui Zheng, 2013. "The Effect of Education on Health: Cross-Country Evidence," Cahiers de recherche 1325, CIRPEE.
    5. McHenry, Peter, 2013. "The relationship between schooling and migration: Evidence from compulsory schooling laws," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 24-40.
    6. Sylvia, Sean & Luo, Renfu & Zhang, Linxiu & Shi, Yaojiang & Medina, Alexis & Rozelle, Scott, 2013. "Do you get what you pay for with school-based health programs? Evidence from a child nutrition experiment in rural China," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 1-12.
    7. Sarah Cohodes & Samuel Kleiner & Michael F. Lovenheim & Daniel Grossman, 2014. "The Effect of Child Health Insurance Access on Schooling: Evidence from Public Insurance Expansions," NBER Working Papers 20178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2013. "Postgraduate Education, Labor Participation, and Wages: An empirical analysis using micro data from Japan," Discussion papers 13065, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    9. Johnson, Eric & Reynolds, C. Lockwood, 2013. "The effect of household hospitalizations on the educational attainment of youth," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 165-182.
    10. Williams Shanks, Trina R. & Robinson, Christine, 2013. "Assets, economic opportunity and toxic stress: A framework for understanding child and educational outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 154-170.
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    12. Eide, Eric R. & Showalter, Mark H., 2012. "Methods matter: Improving causal inference in educational and social science research: A review article," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 744-748.

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