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The Effect of Education on Health: Cross-Country Evidence

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  • Raquel Fonseca
  • Yuhui Zheng

Abstract

This paper uses comparable micro-data from over 15 OECD countries to study the causal relationship between education and health outcomes. We combine three surveys (SHARE, HRS and ELSA) that include nationally representative samples of people aged 50 and over in these countries. We use variation in the timing of educational reforms across these countries as an instrument for the effect of education on health. Using instrumental variables Probit models (IV-Probit), we find causal evidence that more years of education lead to better health for a limited number of health markers. We find lower probabilities of reporting poor health, of having limitations in functional status (ADLs and iADLs) and of having been diagnosed with diabetes. These effects are larger than those from a Probit that does not control for the endogeneity of education. We cannot find evidence of a causal effect of education on other health conditions. Interestingly, the relationship between education and cancer is positive in both Probit and IV-Probit models, which we interpret as evidence that education fosters early detection.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 1325.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1325

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Keywords: Education; health; causality; compulsory schooling laws;

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Cited by:
  1. James Poterba & Steven Venti & David A. Wise, 2013. "Health, Education, and the Postretirement Evolution of Household Assets," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 297 - 339.
  2. Sahlgren, Gabriel H., 2012. "Work ‘til You Drop: Short- and Longer-Term Health Effects of Retirement in Europe," Working Paper Series 928, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  3. Laura Crespo & Borja López-Nodal & Pedro Mira, 2013. "Compulsory Schooling, Education And Mental Health: New Evidence From Sharelife," Working Papers wp2013_1304, CEMFI.

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