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Higher Education and Health Investments: Does More Schooling Affect Preventive Health Care Use?

Listed author(s):
  • Jason M. Fletcher
  • David Frisvold

While it is well-known that individuals with higher levels of education consume more preventive medical care, there are several potential explanations for this stylized fact. These explanations include causal and non-causal mechanisms, and distinguishing among explanations is relevant for accessing the importance of educational spillovers on lifetime health outcomes as well as uncovering the determinants of preventive care. In this paper, we use regression analysis, sibling fixed effects, and matching estimators to attempt to distinguish between causal and non-causal explanations of the impact of education on preventive care. In particular, we use a cohort of 10,000 Wisconsin high school graduates that has been followed for nearly 50 years and find evidence that attending college increases the likelihood of using several types of preventive care by approximately five to fifteen percent for college attendees in the early 1960s. This effect of greater education operates partly through occupational channels and access to care. These findings suggest that increases in education have the potential to spillover on long-term health choices.

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File URL: http://economics.emory.edu/home/assets/workingpapers/frisvold_08_13_paper.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta) in its series Emory Economics with number 0813.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
Handle: RePEc:emo:wp2003:0813
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://economics.emory.edu/home/journals/
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  1. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
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  11. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts," NBER Working Papers 6385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ehrlich, Isaac & Chuma, Hiroyuki, 1990. "A Model of the Demand for Longevity and the Value of Life Extension," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 761-782, August.
  13. Joseph Price, 2008. "Parent-Child Quality Time: Does Birth Order Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
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  15. de Walque, Damien, 2007. "Does education affect smoking behaviors?: Evidence using the Vietnam draft as an instrument for college education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 877-895, September.
  16. Wolfe, Barbara L. & Behrman, Jere R., 1987. "Women's schooling and children's health : Are the effects robust with adult sibling control for the women's childhood background?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 239-254, September.
  17. Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2005. "The Relationship Between Education and Adult Mortality in the United States," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 189-221.
  18. Ehrlich, Isaac, 2000. "Uncertain lifetime, life protection, and the value of life saving," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 341-367, May.
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