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

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Author Info

  • Brunello, Giorgio

    ()
    (University of Padova)

  • Fort, Margherita

    ()
    (University of Bologna)

  • Schneeweis, Nicole

    ()
    (University of Linz)

  • Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf

    ()
    (University of Linz)

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5944.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5944

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Keywords: health; education; health behaviors; Europe;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Strulik, Holger, 2011. "Health and Education: Understanding the Gradient," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP), Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät dp-487, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  2. Raquel Fonseca & Yuhui Zheng, 2013. "The Effect of Education on Health: Cross-Country Evidence," Cahiers de recherche, CIRPEE 1325, CIRPEE.
  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, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria 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, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 20-29.
  5. Aysit Tansel & Deniz Karaoglan, 2014. "Health Behaviors and Education in Turkey," ERC Working Papers, ERC - Economic Research Center, Middle East Technical University 1406, ERC - Economic Research Center, Middle East Technical University, revised Jun 2014.
  6. Nicole Schneeweis & Vegard Skirbekk & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2014. "Does Education Improve Cognitive Performance Four Decades After School Completion?," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 619-643, April.
  7. repec:iae:iaewps:wp2014n01 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Costa-Font, Joan & Hernández-Quevedo, Cristina & Jiménez-Rubio, Dolores, 2014. "Income inequalities in unhealthy life styles in England and Spain," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 66-75.
  9. Carbone, Jared C. & Kverndokk, Snorre, 2014. "Individual investments in education and health," HERO On line Working Paper Series, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme 2014:1, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.

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