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

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

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 behaviors in the immediate past 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, 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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University in its series ISER Discussion Paper with number 0836.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0836

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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. 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.
  3. Raquel Fonseca & Yuhui Zheng, 2013. "The Effect of Education on Health: Cross-Country Evidence," Cahiers de recherche 1325, CIRPEE.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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