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

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  • Brunello, Giorgio
  • Fort, Margherita
  • Schneeweis, Nicole
  • Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf

Abstract

We study the contribution of health-related behaviors to the health-education gradient by distinguishing between short-run and long-run mediating effects: while in the former only current or lagged behaviors are taken into account, in the latter we consider the entire history of behaviors. We use an empirical approach that addresses the endogeneity of education and behaviors in the health production function. Focusing on self-reported poor health as our health outcome, we find that education has a protective effect for European males and females aged 50+. We also find that the mediating effects of health behaviors--measured by smoking, drinking, exercising and the body mass index--account in the short run for 17% to 31% and in the long run for 23% to 45% of the entire effect of education on health, depending on gender.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8707.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8707

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Keywords: education; Europe; health; health behaviours;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Raquel Fonseca & Yuhui Zheng, 2011. "The Effect of Education on Health: Cross-Country Evidence," Working Papers 864, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  2. Jinhu Li & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2014. "Does Increasing Schooling Improve Later Health Habits? Evidence from the School Reforms in Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2014n01, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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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