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The increasing value of education to health

Listed author(s):
  • Goldman, Dana
  • Smith, James P.

This paper assesses how the relationship between health and educational attainment has changed over the last three decades. We examine trends in disease prevalence and self-reported health using the US National Health Interview Survey for five chronic conditions--arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and lung diseases. The sample is limited to non-Hispanic Whites ages 40-64 to focus on the value of education and not changing representation of minority populations. We find that health benefits associated with additional schooling rose over time by more than ten percentage points as measured by self-reported health status. This can be attributed to both a growing disparity by education in the probability of having major chronic diseases during middle age, and better health outcomes for those with each disease. The value of education in achieving better health has increased over the last 25 years; both in protecting against onset of disease and promoting better health outcomes amongst those with a disease. Besides better access to health insurance, the more educated increasingly adapted better health behaviors, particularly not smoking and engaging in vigorous excercise, and reaped the benefits of improving medical technology. Rising health disparities by education are an important social concern which may require targeted interventions.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953611002036
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 72 (2011)
Issue (Month): 10 (May)
Pages: 1728-1737

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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:72:y:2011:i:10:p:1728-1737
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  1. James P. Smith, 2009. "The Impact of Childhood Health on Adult Labor Market Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 478-489, August.
  2. Kevin M. Murphy & Finis Welch, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326.
  3. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2003. "Socioeconomic Status and Child Health: Why Is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1813-1823, December.
  5. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
  6. James P. Smith, 2007. "The Impact of Socioeconomic Status on Health over the Life-Course," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
  7. Linda G. Martin & Robert F. Schoeni & Vicki A. Freedman & Patricia Andreski, 2007. "Feeling Better? Trends in General Health Status," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 62(1), pages 11-21.
  8. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  9. Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 2006. "The Value of Health and Longevity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 871-904, October.
  10. Timothy Waidmann & John Bound & Michael Schoenbaum, 1995. "The Illusion of Failure: Trends in the Self-Reported Health of the U.S. Elderly," NBER Working Papers 5017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. James P. Smith, 2004. "Unravelling the SES health connection," IFS Working Papers W04/02, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  12. Guillermina Jasso & Douglas S. Massey & Mark R. Rosenzweig & James P. Smith, 2004. "Immigrant health: selectivity and acculturation," IFS Working Papers W04/23, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 2001. "Mortality, Income, and Income Inequality Over time in Britain and the United States," Working Papers 267, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  14. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2001. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," NBER Working Papers 8344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Alberto Palloni & Elizabeth Arias, 2004. "Paradox lost: Explaining the hispanic adult mortality advantage," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(3), pages 385-415, August.
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