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Conditional health-related benefits of higher education: An assessment of compensatory versus accumulative mechanisms

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  • Bauldry, Shawn

Abstract

A college degree is associated with a range of health-related benefits, but the effects of higher education are known to vary across different population subgroups. Competing theories have been proposed for whether people from more or less advantaged backgrounds or circumstances will gain greater health-related benefits from a college degree. This study draws on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and recently developed models for analyzing heterogeneous treatment effects to examine how the effect of obtaining a college degree on the self-rated health of young adults varies across the likelihood of obtaining a college degree, a summary measure of advantage/disadvantage. Results indicate that a college degree has a greater effect on self-rated health for people from advantaged backgrounds. This finding differs from two recent studies, and possible reasons for the contrasting findings are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Bauldry, Shawn, 2014. "Conditional health-related benefits of higher education: An assessment of compensatory versus accumulative mechanisms," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 94-100.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:111:y:2014:i:c:p:94-100
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.04.005
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    1. Lynch, Jamie L. & von Hippel, Paul T., 2016. "An education gradient in health, a health gradient in education, or a confounded gradient in both?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 18-27.

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