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The Effect of College Education on Health

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  • Kasey Buckles
  • Andreas Hagemann
  • Ofer Malamud
  • Melinda S. Morrill
  • Abigail K. Wozniak

Abstract

We exploit exogenous variation in college completion induced by draft-avoidance behavior during the Vietnam War to examine the impact of college completion on adult mortality. Our preferred estimates imply that increasing college completion rates from the level of the state with the lowest induced rate to the highest would decrease cumulative mortality by 28 percent relative to the mean. Most of the reduction in mortality is from deaths due to cancer and heart disease. We also explore potential mechanisms, including differential earnings, health insurance, and health behaviors, using data from the Census, ACS, and NHIS.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19222.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19222

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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen & Brigham R. Frandsen, 2009. "DID VIETNAM VETERANS GET SICKER IN THE 1990s? THE COMPLICATED EFFECTS OF MILITARY SERVICE ON SELF-REPORTED HEALTH," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 09/09, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London.
  2. Damon Clark & Heather Royer, 2010. "The Effect of Education on Adult Health and Mortality: Evidence from Britain," NBER Working Papers 16013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Thomas Lemieux & David Card, 2001. "Going to College to Avoid the Draft: The Unintended Legacy of the Vietnam War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 97-102, May.
  4. Grimard, Franque & Parent, Daniel, 2007. "Education and smoking: Were Vietnam war draft avoiders also more likely to avoid smoking?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 896-926, September.
  5. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding Differences in Health Behaviors by Education," Scholarly Articles 5344195, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Abigail Wozniak, 2010. "Are College Graduates More Responsive to Distant Labor Market Opportunities?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 944-970.
  7. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville, 2011. "Long-Run Mortality Effects of Vietnam-Era Army Service: Evidence from Australia's Conscription Lotteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 345-49, May.
  8. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme & Emilia Simeonova, 2012. "Education, Health and Mortality: Evidence from a Social Experiment," NBER Working Papers 17932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Dalton Conley & Jennifer A. Heerwig, 2009. "The Long-Term Effects of Military Conscription on Mortality: Estimates from the Vietnam-era Draft Lottery," NBER Working Papers 15105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Black, Dan & Sanders, Seth & Taylor, Lowell, 2003. "Measurement of Higher Education in the Census and Current Population Survey," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 98, pages 545-554, January.
  16. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding differences in health behaviors by education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-28, January.
  17. de Walque, Damien, 2007. "Does education affect smoking behaviors?: Evidence using the Vietnam draft as an instrument for college education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 877-895, September.
  18. Philip Oreopoulos & Till von Wachter & Andrew Heisz, 2012. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 1-29, January.
  19. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  20. Finkelstein, Amy & McKnight, Robin, 2008. "What did Medicare do? The initial impact of Medicare on mortality and out of pocket medical spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1644-1668, July.
  21. Sarah Turner, 2004. "Going to College and Finishing College.Explaining Different Educational Outcomes," NBER Chapters, in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 13-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Kahn, Lisa B., 2010. "The long-term labor market consequences of graduating from college in a bad economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 303-316, April.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. #HEJC papers for August 2013
    by academichealtheconomists in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2013-07-31 23:00:48
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Cited by:
  1. Di Cintio, Marco & Grassi, Emanuele, 2010. "Internal Migration and Wage Differentials among Italian University Graduates," MPRA Paper 26707, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Leuven, Edwin & Plug, Erik & Rønning, Marte, 2014. "Education and Cancer Risk," Memorandum 06/2014, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  3. Facchini, Giovanni & Mayda, Anna Maria & Mendola, Mariapia, 2013. "South-South Migration and the Labor Market: Evidence from South Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 7362, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Rubén Hernández-Murillo & Lesli S. Ott & Michael T. Owyang & Denise Whalen, 2011. "Patterns of interstate migration in the United States from the survey of income and program participation," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 169-186.

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