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College Quality and Young Adult Health Behaviors

  • Jason Fletcher
  • David Frisvold

Large literatures have shown important links between the quantity of completed education and health outcomes on one hand and the quality of schooling on a host of adult outcomes, such as wages, on the other hand. However, little research has been targeted to producing evidence of the link between school quality and health. The paper presents the first evidence in the literature on the potential short and intermediate term effects of attending a selective college on health behaviors during and following college attendance. Using a variety of empirical methods, this paper shows strong evidence that college quality reduces tobacco and marijuana use but has small and possibly positive effects on binge drinking. The effects on weight behaviors are suggestive of reduced weight, potentially through diet but not exercise change.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta) in its series Emory Economics with number 1007.

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Date of creation: Aug 2010
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Handle: RePEc:emo:wp2003:1007
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  1. Kenkel, Donald S, 1991. "Health Behavior, Health Knowledge, and Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 287-305, April.
  2. Webbink, Dinand & Martin, Nicholas G. & Visscher, Peter M., 2010. "Does education reduce the probability of being overweight?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 29-38, January.
  3. 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.
  4. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2004. "The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," Working Papers 246, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  5. Jensen, Robert & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2012. "Does staying in school (and not working) prevent teen smoking and drinking?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 644-657.
  6. Jason Fletcher & David Frisvold, 2014. "The long run health returns to college quality," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 295-325, June.
  7. Victor R. Fuchs, 1980. "Time Preference and Health: An Exploratory Study," NBER Working Papers 0539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David Frisvold & Ezra Golberstein, 2010. "The Effect of School Quality on Black-White Health Differences: Evidence from Segregated Southern Schools," Emory Economics 1013, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  9. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 7831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Long, Mark C., 2010. "Changes in the returns to education and college quality," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 338-347, June.
  11. Jason M. Fletcher & David Frisvold, 2008. "Higher Education and Health Investments: Does More Schooling Affect Preventive Health Care Use?," Emory Economics 0813, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  12. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  13. Richard K. Crump & V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Oscar A. Mitnik, 2006. "Moving the Goalposts: Addressing Limited Overlap in the Estimation of Average Treatment Effects by Changing the Estimand," NBER Technical Working Papers 0330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Crump, Richard K. & Hotz, V. Joseph & Imbens, Guido W. & Mitnik, Oscar A., 2006. "Moving the Goalposts: Addressing Limited Overlap in Estimation of Average Treatment Effects by Changing the Estimand," IZA Discussion Papers 2347, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2002. "Simple and Bias-Corrected Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Long, Mark C., 2008. "College quality and early adult outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 588-602, October.
  17. Thomas J. Kane & Douglas O. Staiger, 2008. "Estimating Teacher Impacts on Student Achievement: An Experimental Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 14607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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