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Changes in compulsory schooling and the causal effect of education on health: Evidence from Germany

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  • Kemptner, Daniel
  • Jürges, Hendrik
  • Reinhold, Steffen

Abstract

In this paper we investigate the causal effect of years of schooling on health and health-related behavior in West Germany. We apply an instrumental variables approach using as natural experiments several changes in compulsory schooling laws between 1949 and 1969. These law changes generate exogenous variation in years of schooling both across states and over time. We find evidence for a strong and significant causal effect of years of schooling on long-term illness for men but not for women. Moreover, we provide somewhat weaker evidence of a causal effect of education on the likelihood of having weight problems for both sexes. On the other hand, we find little evidence for a causal effect of education on smoking behavior. Overall, our estimates suggest significant non-monetary returns to education with respect to health outcomes but not necessarily with respect to health-related behavior.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 340-354

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:30:y:2011:i:2:p:340-354

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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Keywords: School reform Health Obesity Smoking Instrumental variables;

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References

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  1. Kenkel, D.S., 1988. "Health Behavior, Health Knowledge, And Schooling," Papers 10-88-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  2. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2007. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence From the German Short School Years," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1216-1242, October.
  3. Albouy, Valerie & Lequien, Laurent, 2009. "Does compulsory education lower mortality?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 155-168, January.
  4. Rodolfo Nayga, 2000. "Schooling, health knowledge and obesity," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(7), pages 815-822.
  5. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
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  8. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2010. "Does Education Reduce the Risk of Hypertension? Estimating the Biomarker Effect of Compulsory Schooling in England," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 173-202.
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  10. Steffen Reinhold & Hendrik Jürges, 2009. "Secondary School Fees and the Causal Effect of Schooling on Health Behavior," MEA discussion paper series 09181, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  11. Jörn-Steffen Pischke & Till von Wachter, 2006. "Zero Returns to Compulsory Schooling in Germany: Evidence and Interpretation," CEE Discussion Papers 0054, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  12. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic status and health in childhood: the origins of the gradient," Working Papers 262, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  13. Damon Clark & Heather Royer, 2010. "The Effect of Education on Adult Health and Mortality: Evidence from Britain," NBER Working Papers 16013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Silles, Mary A., 2009. "The causal effect of education on health: Evidence from the United Kingdom," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 122-128, February.
  15. Pedro Carneiro & Claire Crawford & Alissa Goodman, 2007. "The Impact of Early Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills on Later Outcomes," CEE Discussion Papers 0092, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  16. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-58, August.
  17. Steffen Reinhold & Hendrik Jürges, 2012. "Parental income and child health in Germany," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(5), pages 562-579, 05.
  18. de Walque, Damien, 2007. "Does education affect smoking behaviors?: Evidence using the Vietnam draft as an instrument for college education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 877-895, September.
  19. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
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  21. Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Estimating Average and Local Average Treatment Effects of Education when Compulsory Schooling Laws Really Matter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 152-175, March.
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