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Health, schooling and lifestyle among young adults in Finland


  • Unto Häkkinen

    (Centre for Health Economics at STAKES (CHESS), Finland)

  • Marjo-Riitta Järvelin
  • Gunnar Rosenqvist
  • Jaana Laitinen

    (Oulu Regional Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)


This was a longitudinal, general population study based on a Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort, using a structural equation approach to estimate the health production function and health input functions for four lifestyle variables (smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise and unhealthy diet) for males and females. In particular, we examined the productive and allocative effects of education on health. We used 15D, a generic measure of health-related quality of life, as a single index score measure but we also estimated models for some of its dimensions. Among the males, the important factors impacting on health were education and all the four lifestyle factors, as well as some exogenous variables at 31 years and variables describing parents' background, and health and behaviour at 14 years. An increase of five years in schooling increased the health score by 0.008, of which about 50% was due to direct effect and 50% due to indirect effects. Among the females, education does not impact on health, but health was affected by the use of alcohol, exercise and diet, but not by smoking. Our results indicate that policy options that increase education among men will increase their health indirectly via healthier lifestyles. However, since the total effect was rather modest and the direct effect insignificant, an increase of schooling is not a cost-effective way to increase health given the present high educational level of Finland. The young adults' and particularly women's internationally high educational status in Finland might be a reason why we find only a modest effect of schooling on health and the non-existence of such effects among women. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Unto Häkkinen & Marjo-Riitta Järvelin & Gunnar Rosenqvist & Jaana Laitinen, 2006. "Health, schooling and lifestyle among young adults in Finland," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(11), pages 1201-1216.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:15:y:2006:i:11:p:1201-1216 DOI: 10.1002/hec.1123

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Merja Halme & Kari Linden & Kimmo Kääriä, 2009. "Patients’ Preferences for Generic and Branded Over-the-Counter Medicines," The Patient: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research, Springer;Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, vol. 2(4), pages 243-255, December.
    2. repec:dau:papers:123456789/9292 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. William Griffiths & Xiaohui Zhang & Xueyan Zhao, 2010. "A Stochastic Frontier Model for Discrete Ordinal Outcomes: A Health Production Function," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1092, The University of Melbourne.
    4. Bruce Hollingsworth & Anthony Scott & Sandy Tubeuf & Florence Jusot & Damien Bricard, 2012. "Mediating Role Of Education And Lifestyles In The Relationship Between Early‐Life Conditions And Health: Evidence From The 1958 British Cohort," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21, pages 129-150, June.
    5. repec:spr:soinre:v:134:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1454-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa & Ocloo, Janet Exornam & Siawor-Robertson, Diana, 2015. "Ethnic diversity makes me sick! An examination of ethnic diversity’s effect on health outcomes," EconStor Preprints 123721, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    7. Lien Nguyen & Unto Häkkinen & Matti Knuuttila & Marjo-Riitta Järvelin, 2008. "Should we brush twice a day? Determinants of dental health among young adults in Finland," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 267-286.
    8. Tubeuf & Florence Jusot & Damien Bricard, 2011. "Mediating role of education and lifestyles in the relationship betwee early-life conditions and health: evidence from the 1958 British cohort," Working Papers 1106, Academic Unit of Health Economics, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds.
    9. Fredrik Ødegaard & Pontus Roos, 2013. "Measuring Worksite Health Promotion Programs: an application of Structural Equation Modeling with ordinal data," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 14(4), pages 639-653, August.

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