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The impact of education on health knowledge

  • Altindag, Duha
  • Cannonier, Colin
  • Mocan, Naci

The theory on the demand for health suggests that schooling causes health because schooling increases the efficiency of health production. Alternatively, the allocative efficiency hypothesis argues that schooling alters the input mix chosen to produce health. This suggests that the more educated have more knowledge about the health production function and they have more health knowledge. This paper uses data from the 1997 and 2002 waves of the NLSY97 to conduct an investigation of the allocative efficiency hypothesis by analyzing whether education improves health knowledge. The survey design allows us to observe the increase in health knowledge of young adults after their level of schooling is increased by differential and plausibly exogenous amounts. Using nine different questions measuring health knowledge, we find weak evidence that an increase in education generates an improvement in health knowledge for those who ultimately attend college. For those with high school as the terminal degree, no relationship is found between education and health knowledge. These results imply that the allocative efficiency hypothesis may not be the primary reason for why schooling impacts health outcomes.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 792-812

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:30:y:2011:i:5:p:792-812
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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  1. Altindag, Duha & Cannonier, Colin & Mocan, Naci, 2011. "The impact of education on health knowledge," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 792-812, October.
  2. Gabriella Conti & James Heckman & Sergio Urzua, 2010. "The Education-Health Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 234-38, May.
  3. Kenkel, D.S., 1988. "Health Behavior, Health Knowledge, And Schooling," Papers 10-88-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  4. Farrell, Phillip & Fuchs, Victor R. & Fuchs, Victor R., 1982. "Schooling and health : The cigarette connection," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 217-230, December.
  5. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  6. Shin-Yi Chou & Jin-Tan Liu & Michael Grossman & Ted Joyce, 2010. "Parental Education and Child Health: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Taiwan," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 33-61, January.
  7. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother'S Education And The Intergenerational Transmission Of Human Capital: Evidence From College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532, November.
  8. Anna Aizer & Laura Stroud, 2010. "Education, Knowledge and the Evolution of Disparities in Health," NBER Working Papers 15840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2005. "The Relationship Between Education and Adult Mortality in the United States," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 189-221.
  10. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, October.
  11. Grossman, Michael, 2000. "The human capital model," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 347-408 Elsevier.
  12. Michael Grossman, 2008. "The Relationship Between Health and Schooling," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 34(3), pages 281-292.
  13. Price, Joseph & Simon, Kosali, 2009. "Patient education and the impact of new medical research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 1166-1174, December.
  14. Mark C. Berger & J. Paul Leigh, 1989. "Schooling, Self-Selection, and Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 433-455.
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