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The Health Returns to Education - What can we learn from Twins?

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  • Petter Lundborg

    ()
    (Free University Amsterdam)

Abstract

This paper estimates the health returns to education, using data on identical twins. I adopt a twin-differences strategy in order to obtain estimates that are not biased by unobserved family background and genetic traits that may affect both education and health. I further investigate to what extent within-twin-pair differences in schooling correlates with within-twin-pair differences in early life health and parent-child relations. The results suggest a causal effect of education on health. Higher educational levels are found to be positively related to self-reported health but negatively related to the number of chronic conditions. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking and overweight, are found to contribute little to the education/health gradient. I am also able to rule out occupational hazards and health insurance coverage as explanations for the gradient. In addition, I find no evidence of heterogenous effects of education by parental education. Finally, the results suggest that factors that may vary within twin pairs, such as birth weight, early life health, parental treatment and relation with parents, do not predict within-twin pair differences in schooling, lending additional credibility to my estimates and to the general vailidy of using a twin-differences design to study the returns to education.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 08-027/3.

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Date of creation: 00 0000
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20080027

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Keywords: health production; education; schooling; twins; siblings; returns to education; ability bias;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Dan Anderberg & Arnaud Chevalier & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2009. "Anatomy of a health scare: education, income and the MMR controversy in the UK," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28600, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Hendrik Jürges & Eberhard Kruk & Steffen Reinhold, 2010. "The Effect of Compulsory Schooling on Health - Evidence from Biomarkers," CESifo Working Paper Series 3105, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Jürges, Hendrik & Reinhold, Steffen & Salm, Martin, 2009. "Does Schooling Affect Health Behavior? Evidence from the Educational Expansion in Western Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 4330, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Petter Lundborg; & Carl Hampus Lyttkens; & Paul Nystedt;, 2012. "Human capital and longevity. Evidence from 50,000 twins," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 12/19, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  5. Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Lundborg, Petter & Lyttkens, Carl Hampus & Nystedt, Paul, 2012. "Do Socioeconomic Factors Really Explain Income-Related Inequalities in Health? Applying a Twin Design to Standard Decomposition Analysis," Working Papers 2012:21, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  6. Brunello, Giorgio & Fabbri, Daniele & Fort, Margherita, 2009. "Years of Schooling, Human Capital and the Body Mass Index of European Females," IZA Discussion Papers 4667, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Eide, Eric R. & Showalter, Mark H., 2011. "Estimating the relation between health and education: What do we know and what do we need to know?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 778-791, October.

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