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Schooling has smaller or insignificant effects on adult health in the US than suggested by cross-sectional associations: New estimates using relatively large samples of identical twins

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  • Amin, Vikesh
  • Behrman, Jere R.
  • Kohler, Hans-Peter

Abstract

Numerous theoretical reasons have been posited about why more schooling might improve health. Adult health outcomes and behaviors generally are significantly associated with schooling. However, such associations do not necessarily imply that schooling has causal effects on health outcomes and behaviors. Causal estimates based on schooling variation from policies and from within-MZ (monozygotic) twins have reached mixed conclusions. This study contributed new estimates of cross-sectional associations and within-MZ causal effects using three relatively large US twins samples. The estimates suggested that schooling was significantly associated with numerous health outcomes and behaviors. However, with within-MZ twins control for unobserved factors, schooling was no longer associated with most indicators of better health (with the exception of self-reported health), while it continued to be associated with outcomes such as fertility and spousal schooling. Similar patterns were observed for spousal schooling.

Suggested Citation

  • Amin, Vikesh & Behrman, Jere R. & Kohler, Hans-Peter, 2015. "Schooling has smaller or insignificant effects on adult health in the US than suggested by cross-sectional associations: New estimates using relatively large samples of identical twins," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 181-189.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:127:y:2015:i:c:p:181-189
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.07.065
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Govert E. Bijwaard & Mikko Myrskylä & Per Tynelius & Finn Rasmussen, 2017. "Educational gain in cause-specific mortality: accounting for confounders," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2017-003, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. Bijwaard, Govert & Myrskylä, Mikko & Tynelius, Per & Rasmussen, Finn, 2016. "Education, Cognitive Ability and Cause-Specific Mortality: A Structural Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 10137, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. 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.
    5. Boardman, Jason D. & Domingue, Benjamin W. & Daw, Jonathan, 2015. "What can genes tell us about the relationship between education and health?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 171-180.
    6. 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.
    7. Sudharsanan, Nikkil & Behrman, Jere R. & Kohler, Hans-Peter, 2016. "Limited common origins of multiple adult health-related behaviors: Evidence from U.S. twins," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 67-83.
    8. Niccodemi, Gianmaria & Bijwaard, Govert, 2018. "Education, Intelligence and Diseases in Old Age," IZA Discussion Papers 11605, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Böckerman, Petri & Maczulskij, Terhi, 2016. "The Education-health Nexus: Fact and fiction," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 112-116.
    10. Naomi Duke & Ross Macmillan, 2016. "Schooling, skills, and self-rated health: A test of conventional wisdom on the relationship between educational attainment and health," Working Papers 087, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    11. 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.
    12. Barr, Peter B. & Salvatore, Jessica E. & Maes, Hermine & Aliev, Fazil & Latvala, Antti & Viken, Richard & Rose, Richard J. & Kaprio, Jaakko & Dick, Danielle M., 2016. "Education and alcohol use: A study of gene-environment interaction in young adulthood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 158-167.
    13. Durevall, Dick & Lindskog, Annika & George, Gavin, 2015. "Education and HIV incidence among young women: causation or selection?," Working Papers in Economics 638, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    14. repec:eee:socmed:v:184:y:2017:i:c:p:49-56 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:eee:socmed:v:196:y:2018:i:c:p:227-232 is not listed on IDEAS

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