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The Impact of Childhood Health on Adult Educational Attainment: Evidence from Modern Mandatory School Vaccination Laws

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This paper examines the impact of post-neonatal childhood health on adult educational attainment using evidence from mandatory school vaccination laws in the U.S. After the development of a number of key vaccines, states began to require proof of immunization against certain infectious diseases for children entering school. I exploit the staggered implementation of the laws across states to identify both the short-run impacts on child health and long-term effects on educational attainment. First, I show that the mandatory school vaccination laws were effective in reducing the incidence rates of the targeted diseases. Next, I find sizable and positive effects on educational outcomes as measured by high school completion and years of schooling. The effect on educational attainment is twice as large for non-whites relative to whites.

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File URL: http://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2012/WP1202_leedn.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 1202.

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Length: 34 pgs.
Date of creation: 20 Feb 2012
Date of revision: 29 Oct 2012
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1202

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Keywords: school vaccinations; morbidity; health; educational attainment;

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  1. Kenneth Y. Chay & Jonathan Guryan & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2009. "Birth Cohort and the Black-White Achievement Gap: The Roles of Access and Health Soon After Birth," NBER Working Papers 15078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding Differences in Health Behaviors by Education," Scholarly Articles 5344195, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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