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The Causal Effect of Education on Health: What is the Role of Health Behaviors?

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  • G. Brunello
  • M. Fort
  • N. Schneeweis
  • R. Winter-Ebmer

Abstract

In this paper we investigate the contribution of health related behaviors to the education gradient, using an empirical approach that addresses the endogeneity of both education and behaviors in the health production function. We apply this approach to a multi-country data set, which includes 12 European countries and has information on education, health and health behaviors for a sample of individuals aged 50+. Focusing on self reported poor health as our health outcome, we find that education has a protective role both for males and females. When evaluated at the sample mean of the dependent variable, one additional year of education reduces self-reported poor health by 7.1% for females and by 3.1% for males. Health behaviors - measured by smoking, drinking, exercising and the body mass index - contribute to explaining the gradient. We find that the effects of education on smoking, drinking, exercising and eating a proper diet account for at most 23% to 45% of the entire effect of education on health, depending on gender.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp788.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp788

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Nicole Halmdienst & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2013. "Long-Run Effects of Childhood Shocks on Health in Late Adulthood: Evidence from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe," Economics working papers 2013-02, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  2. Brunello, Giorgio & Labartino, Giovanna, 2014. "Regional differences in overweight rates: The case of Italian regions," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 20-29.
  3. Aysit Tansel & Deniz Karaoglan, 2014. "Health Behaviors and Education in Turkey," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1414, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  4. Nicole Schneeweis & Vegard Skirbekk & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2014. "Does Education Improve Cognitive Performance Four Decades After School Completion?," Demography, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 619-643, April.
  5. Costa-Font, Joan & Hernández-Quevedo, Cristina & Jiménez-Rubio, Dolores, 2014. "Income inequalities in unhealthy life styles in England and Spain," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 66-75.
  6. Raquel Fonseca & Yuhui Zheng, 2013. "The Effect of Education on Health: Cross-Country Evidence," Cahiers de recherche 1325, CIRPEE.
  7. Carbone, Jared C. & Kverndokk, Snorre, 2014. "Individual investments in education and health," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2014:1, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
  8. repec:iae:iaewps:wp2014n01 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Strulik, Holger, 2013. "Health and education: Understanding the gradient," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 172, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

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