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Education and Health: Insights from International Comparisons

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  • David M. Cutler
  • Adriana Lleras-Muney

Abstract

In this review we synthesize what is known about the relationship between education and health. A large number of studies from both rich and poor countries show that education is associated with better health. While previous work has thought of the effect of education separately for rich and poor countries, we argue that there are insights to be gained by integrating the two. For example, education is associated with lower malnutrition in most countries, but in richer countries the educated have lower BMIs whereas in poor countries the educated have higher BMIs. This suggests that the behaviors associated with better health differ depending on the level of development. We illustrate this approach by comparing the effects of education on various health and health behaviors around the world, to generate hypotheses about why education is so often (but not always) predictive of health. Finally, we review the empirical evidence on the relationship between education and health, paying particular attention to causal evidence and evidence on mechanisms linking education to better health.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17738.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17738

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Cited by:
  1. Titus J. Galama & Hans van Kippersluis, 2013. "Health Inequalities through the Lens of Health Capital Theory: Issues, Solutions, and Future Directions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-076/V, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2012. "Postgraduate Education and Human Capital Productivity in Japan," Discussion papers 12009, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  3. David Cutler & Wei Huang & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2014. "When Does Education Matter? The Protective Effect of Education for Cohorts Graduating in Bad Times," NBER Working Papers 20156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2013. "Postgraduate Education, Labor Participation, and Wages: An empirical analysis using micro data from Japan," Discussion papers 13065, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

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