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Estimating the Education-Health Relationship: A Cost-Utility Approach


  • Golberstein Ezra

    () (University of Minnesota - Twin Cities)

  • Hirth Richard A.

    () (University of Michigan - Ann Arbor)

  • Lantz Paula M.

    () (George Washington University)


While considerable research studies the association between education and health, no prior research estimates the magnitude of health improvements associated with more schooling, accounting for both quantity and quality of life. We use longitudinal PSID data that combines repeated survey measures of health status with mortality data to measure the number of Quality-Adjusted Life Years accruing over a 23-year period. To reduce endogeneity concerns we utilize detailed survey information on family background, cognitive, and non-cognitive skills; and we estimate sibling fixed effects models. An additional year of schooling is associated with 0.20-0.38 additional QALYs over the 23-year study period. These estimates are considerably larger than looking at quality-unadjusted life years. We estimate that an additional year of schooling is associated with an incremental discounted lifetime value of $26,000-$49,000 of health. To the extent that our results approximate causal estimates, increasing education may be a cost-effective way to improve population health.

Suggested Citation

  • Golberstein Ezra & Hirth Richard A. & Lantz Paula M., 2012. "Estimating the Education-Health Relationship: A Cost-Utility Approach," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-27, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:11:y:2012:i:3:n:7

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    References listed on IDEAS

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