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Does more schooling improve health outcomes and health related behaviors? Evidence from U.K. twins

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  • Amin, Vikesh
  • Behrman, Jere R.
  • Spector, Tim D.

Abstract

Several recent studies using instrumental variables based on changes in compulsory school-leaving age laws have estimated the causal effect of schooling on health outcomes and health-related behaviors in the U.K. Despite using the same identification strategy and similar datasets, no consensus has been reached. We contribute to the literature by providing results for the U.K. using a different research design and a different dataset. Specifically, we estimate the effect of schooling on health outcomes (obesity and physical health) and health-related behaviors (smoking, alcohol consumption and exercise) for women through within-MZ twins estimates using the TwinsUK database. For physical health, alcohol consumption and exercise, the within-MZ twins estimates are uninformative about whether there is a causal effect. However, we find (1) that the significant association between schooling and smoking status is due to unobserved endowments that are correlated with schooling and smoking and (2) there is some indication that more schooling reduces the body mass index for women, even once these unobserved endowments have been controlled for.

Suggested Citation

  • Amin, Vikesh & Behrman, Jere R. & Spector, Tim D., 2013. "Does more schooling improve health outcomes and health related behaviors? Evidence from U.K. twins," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 134-148.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:35:y:2013:i:c:p:134-148
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2013.04.004
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    Cited by:

    1. Petter Lundborg; & Carl Hampus Lyttkens; & Paul Nystedt;, 2012. "Human capital and longevity. Evidence from 50,000 twins," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 12/19, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    2. Jared C. Carbone & Snorre Kverndokk, 2017. "Individual Investments in Education and Health: Policy Responses and Interactions," Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research,in: Human Capital and Health Behavior, volume 25, pages 33-83 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    3. Felix C. Tropf & Jornt J. Mandemakers, 2017. "Is the Association Between Education and Fertility Postponement Causal? The Role of Family Background Factors," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(1), pages 71-91, February.
    4. Behrman, Jere R. & Xiong, Yanyan & Zhang, Junsen, 2015. "Cross-sectional schooling-health associations misrepresented causal schooling effects on adult health and health-related behaviors: Evidence from the Chinese Adults Twins Survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 190-197.
    5. Michael Grossman, 2015. "The Relationship between Health and Schooling: What’s New?," NBER Working Papers 21609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Jere Behrman & Hans-Peter Kohler & Vibeke Jensen & Dorthe Pedersen & Inge Petersen & Paul Bingley & Kaare Christensen, 2011. "Does More Schooling Reduce Hospitalization and Delay Mortality? New Evidence Based on Danish Twins," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(4), pages 1347-1375, November.
    7. Petter Lundborg, 2013. "The health returns to schooling—what can we learn from twins?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(2), pages 673-701, April.
    8. Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Lundborg, Petter & Lyttkens, Carl Hampus & Nystedt, Paul, 2012. "Do Socioeconomic Factors Really Explain Income-Related Inequalities in Health? Applying a Twin Design to Standard Decomposition Analysis," Working Papers 2012:21, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    9. Petter Lundborg & Carl Hampus Lyttkens & Paul Nystedt, 2016. "The Effect of Schooling on Mortality: New Evidence From 50,000 Swedish Twins," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(4), pages 1135-1168, August.
    10. Lång, Elisabeth & Nystedt, Paul, 2016. "Learning For Life? The Effects of Schooling on Earnings and Health- Related Behavior Over the Life Cycle," LiU Working Papers in Economics 4, Linköping University, Division of Economics, Department of Management and Engineering.
    11. Titus J. Galama & Adriana Lleras-Muney & Hans van Kippersluis, 2018. "The Effect of Education on Health and Mortality: A Review of Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Evidence," NBER Working Papers 24225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Madsen, Mia & Andersen, Per K. & Gerster, Mette & Andersen, Anne-Marie N. & Christensen, Kaare & Osler, Merete, 2014. "Are the educational differences in incidence of cardiovascular disease explained by underlying familial factors? A twin study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 182-190.
    13. Güneş, Pınar Mine, 2015. "The role of maternal education in child health: Evidence from a compulsory schooling law," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-16.
    14. repec:ibn:ijefaa:v:9:y:2017:i:10:p:136-144 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Matthew Calver, 2015. "Closing the Aboriginal Education Gap in Canada: Assessing Progress and Estimating the Economic Benefits," CSLS Research Reports 2015-03, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Schooling; Health; Twins fixed-effects;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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