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Screening Tests, Information, and the Health-Education Gradient

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Abstract

The association between health outcomes and education – the health-education gradient - is widely documented but little is known about its source. Using microeconomic data on a sample of individuals aged 50+ in eight European countries, we find that education and cognitive skills (such as verbal fluency) are associated with a greater propensity for standard screening tests (mammography and colonoscopy). In order to study the role of information on the decision to screen, we test whether the health-education gradient varies with the quality of the information provided by the health care system, as proxied by the quality of the General Practitioner. Using an Instrumental Variable approach to control for the potential endogeneity of the GP quality score, we find evidence of a strong and significant complementarity between education and quality of primary care. We interpret this result as evidence that health-education gradient can be explained, at least in part, by the fact that better educated individuals are more able to process and internalize health related information as provided by GPs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 187.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2008
Date of revision: 28 Apr 2008
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:187

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Keywords: Health; education; information; general practitioners;

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References

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  7. Scott, Anthony, 2000. "Economics of general practice," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1175-1200 Elsevier.
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  12. David M. Cutler & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. "Education and Health: Evaluating Theories and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 12352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Wübker, Ansgar, 2011. "Who gets a Mammogram amongst European women aged 50-69 years and why are there such large differences across European countries?," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48715, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  2. 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.
  3. Binswanger, J. & Carman, K.G., 2011. "The Role of Desicion Making Processes in the Correlation between Wealth and Health," Discussion Paper 2011-005, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.

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