Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Effects of education on cognition at older ages: Evidence from China's Great Famine

Contents:

Author Info

  • Huang, Wei
  • Zhou, Yi

Abstract

This paper explores whether educational attainment has a cognitive reserve capacity in elder life. Using pilot data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), we examined the impact of education on cognitive abilities at old ages. OLS results showed that respondents who completed primary school obtained 18.2 percent higher scores on cognitive tests than those who did not. We then constructed an instrumental variable (IV) by leveraging China's Great Famine of 1959–1961 as a natural experiment to estimate the causal effect of education on cognition. Two-stage least squares (2SLS) results provided sound evidence that completing primary school significantly increases cognition scores, especially in episode memory, by almost 20 percent on average. Moreover, Regression Discontinuity (RD) analysis provides further evidence for the causal interpretation, and shows that the effects are different for the different measures of cognition we explored. Our results also show that the Great Famine can result in long-term health consequences through the pathway of losing educational opportunities other than through the pathway of nutrition deprivation.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953613004735
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 98 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 54-62

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:98:y:2013:i:c:p:54-62

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description

Order Information:
Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional
Web: http://www.elsevier.com/orderme/journalorderform.cws_home/315/journalorderform1/orderooc/id=654&ref=654_01_ooc_1&version=01

Related research

Keywords: Education; Cognitive reserve; China's great famine;

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Xiaoyan Lei & Yuqing Hu & John J. McArdle & James P. Smith & Yaohui Zhao, 2012. "Gender Differences in Cognition among Older Adults in China," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(4), pages 951-971.
  2. Robert W. Fogel, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," NBER Working Papers 4638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2008. "Height, Health and Cognitive Function at Older Ages," Working Papers 1007, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  4. James J. Heckman, 2007. "The Economics, Technology and Neuroscience of Human Capability Formation," NBER Working Papers 13195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Huang, Wei & Lei, Xiaoyan & Ridder, Geert & Strauss, John & Zhao, Yaohui, 2012. "Health, Height, Height Shrinkage and SES at Older Ages: Evidence from China," IZA Discussion Papers 6489, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1990. "Collectivization and China's Agricultural Crisis in 1959-1961," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1228-52, December.
  7. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
  8. Neelsen, Sven & Stratmann, Thomas, 2011. "Effects of prenatal and early life malnutrition: Evidence from the Greek famine," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 479-488, May.
  9. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J., 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 2550, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. James P. Smith & John J. McArdle & Robert Willis, 2010. "Financial Decision Making and Cognition in a Family Context," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages F363-F380, November.
  11. James P. Smith & Yan Shen & John Strauss & Zhe Yang & Yaohui Zhao, 2010. "The Effects of Childhood Health on Adult Health and SES in China," Working Papers 809, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  12. James Banks & Fabrizio Mazzonna, 2012. "The Effect of Education on Old Age Cognitive Abilities: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(560), pages 418-448, 05.
  13. Xin Meng & Nancy Qian, 2009. "The Long Term Consequences of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from a Unique Natural Experiment using China's Great Famine," NBER Working Papers 14917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Lin, Justin Yifu & Yang, Dennis Tao, 2000. "Food Availability, Entitlements and the Chinese Famine of 1959-61," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 136-58, January.
  15. Song, Shige & Wang, Wei & Hu, Peifeng, 2009. "Famine, death, and madness: Schizophrenia in early adulthood after prenatal exposure to the Chinese Great Leap Forward Famine," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1315-1321, April.
  16. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  17. Chen, Yuyu & Zhou, Li-An, 2007. "The long-term health and economic consequences of the 1959-1961 famine in China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 659-681, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:98:y:2013:i:c:p:54-62. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.