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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
  • Nichole 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 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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series Economics working papers with number 2011-06.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2011
Date of revision: Nov 2011
Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2011_06

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Keywords: Health; education; health behaviors; Europe.;

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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. Aysit Tansel & Deniz Karaoglan, 2014. "Health Behaviors and Education in Turkey," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1414, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  3. Strulik, Holger, 2011. "Health and Education: Understanding the Gradient," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-487, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  4. 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," NRN working papers 2013-01, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  5. repec:iae:iaewps:wp2014n01 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. 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.
  7. Nicole Schneeweis & Vegard Skirbekk & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2014. "Does Education Improve Cognitive Performance Four Decades After School Completion?," Demography, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 619-643, April.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

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