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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 The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series NRN working papers with number 2011-17.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2011
Date of revision: Nov 2011
Handle: RePEc:jku:nrnwps:2011_17

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Postal: NRN Labor Economics and the Welfare State, c/o Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, Altenbergerstr. 69, 4040 Linz
Phone: +43-732-2468-8216
Fax: +43-732-2468-8217
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Web page: http://www.labornrn.at/
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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. 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. 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.
  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, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 66-75.
  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," Economics working papers, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria 2013-02, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  5. 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.
  6. repec:iae:iaewps:wp2014n01 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Tansel, Aysit & Karaoglan, Deniz, 2014. "Health Behaviors and Education in Turkey," IZA Discussion Papers 8262, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Raquel Fonseca & Yuhui Zheng, 2011. "The Effect of Education on Health: Cross-Country Evidence," Working Papers, RAND Corporation Publications Department 864, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  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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