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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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Cited by:
  1. Aysit Tansel & Deniz Karaoglan, 2014. "Health Behaviors and Education in Turkey," ERC Working Papers 1406, ERC - Economic Research Center, Middle East Technical University, revised Jun 2014.
  2. Strulik, Holger, 2011. "Health and Education: Understanding the Gradient," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-487, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  3. 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.
  4. Raquel Fonseca & Yuhui Zheng, 2011. "The Effect of Education on Health: Cross-Country Evidence," Working Papers 864, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. repec:iae:iaewps:wp2014n01 is not listed on IDEAS

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