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Does Schooling Affect Health Behavior? Evidence from the Educational Expansion in Western Germany

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Author Info

  • Jürges, Hendrik

    ()
    (University of Mannheim)

  • Reinhold, Steffen

    ()
    (MEA, University of Mannheim)

  • Salm, Martin

    ()
    (Tilburg University)

Abstract

During the postwar period German states pursued policies to increase the share of young Germans obtaining a university entrance diploma (Abitur) by building more academic track schools, but the timing of educational expansion differed between states. This creates exogenous variation in the availability of higher education, which allows estimating the causal effect of education on health behaviors. Using the number of academic track schools in a state as an instrumental variable for years of schooling, we investigate the causal effect of schooling on health behavior such as smoking and related outcomes such as obesity. We find large negative effects of education on smoking. These effects can mostly be attributed to reductions in starting rates rather than increases in quitting rates. We find no causal effect of education on reduced overweight and obesity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4330.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economics of Education Review, 2011, 30 (5), 862-872
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4330

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Keywords: education; smoking; obesity;

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References

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