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The health knowledge mechanism: evidence on the link between education and health lifestyle in the Philippines

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  • Roman Hoffmann

    (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

  • Sebastian Uljas Lutz

    (Vienna University of Economics and Business)

Abstract

Studies have found substantial differences in health-related behavior and health care usage between educational groups, which may explain part of the well-documented educational gradient in health. The allocative efficiency hypothesis offers a behavioral explanation for these reported differences. According to this theory, the educated possess more health knowledge and information, allowing them to make better health choices. We perform a mediation analysis to study this mechanism using original survey data from the Philippines, a lower-middle-income country. As an extension of previous empirical research, we construct a comprehensive index that captures different dimensions of health knowledge. Using generalized propensity scores, we find strong support for the allocative efficiency argument. Schooling is significantly associated with health knowledge levels, which explain up to 69% of the education effect on health lifestyle. This corresponds to twice the mediation strength of economic resources, suggesting an important role of this factor in explaining education effects on health decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Roman Hoffmann & Sebastian Uljas Lutz, 2019. "The health knowledge mechanism: evidence on the link between education and health lifestyle in the Philippines," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 20(1), pages 27-43, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:eujhec:v:20:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s10198-017-0950-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s10198-017-0950-2
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education; Health knowledge; Health lifestyle; Allocative efficiency; Developing country; Philippines;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy

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