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Effects of Compulsory Schooling on Mortality: Evidence from Sweden

  • Fischer, Martin

    ()

    (University of Duisburg-Essen)

  • Karlsson, Martin

    (University of Duisburg-Essen)

  • Nilsson, Therese

    ()

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

Theoretically, there are several reasons to expect education to have a positive effect on health and empirical research suggests that education can be an important health determinant. However, it has not yet been established whether education and health are indeed causally related, and the effects found in previous studies may be partially attributable to methodological weaknesses. Moreover, existing evidence on the education-health relationship using information of schooling reforms for identification, generally use information from fairly recent reforms implying that health outcomes are observed only over a limited time period. This paper examines the effect of education on mortality using information on a national roll-out of a reform leading to one extra year of compulsory schooling in Sweden. In 1936, the national government made a seventh school year compulsory; however, the implementation was decided at the school district level, and the reform was implemented over a period of 12 years. Taking advantage of the variation in the timing of the implementation across school districts, by using county-level proportions of reformed districts, census data and administrative mortality data, we find that the extra compulsory school year reduced mortality. In fact, the mortality reduction is discernible already before the age of 30 and then grows in magnitude until the age of 55–60.

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Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 992.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 03 Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0992
Contact details of provider: Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
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  1. 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.
  2. Albouy, Valerie & Lequien, Laurent, 2009. "Does compulsory education lower mortality?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 155-168, January.
  3. Meghir, Costas & Palme, Mårten & Simeonova, Emilia, 2012. "Education, Health and Mortality: Evidence from a Social Experiment," Research Papers in Economics 2012:4, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  4. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2004. "Educational reform, ability and family background," IFS Working Papers W04/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Silles, Mary A., 2009. "The causal effect of education on health: Evidence from the United Kingdom," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 122-128, February.
  6. Jürges, Hendrik & Reinhold, Steffen & Salm, Martin, 2009. "Does Schooling Affect Health Behavior? Evidence from the Educational Expansion in Western Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 4330, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. David M. Cutler & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. "Education and Health: Evaluating Theories and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 12352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Helena Holmlund, 2008. "A Researchers Guide to the Swedish Compulsory School Reform," CEE Discussion Papers 0087, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  9. Kemptner, Daniel & Jürges, Hendrik & Reinhold, Steffen, 2011. "Changes in compulsory schooling and the causal effect of education on health: Evidence from Germany," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 340-354, March.
  10. Arendt, Jacob Nielsen, 2008. "In sickness and in health--Till education do us part: Education effects on hospitalization," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 161-172, April.
  11. Christina Gathmann & Hendrik Jürges & Steffen Reinhold, 2012. "Compulsory Schooling Reforms, Education and Mortality in Twentieth Century Europe," CESifo Working Paper Series 3755, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Hans van Kippersluis, & Owen O’Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2011. "Long-Run Returns to Education: Does Schooling Lead to an Extended Old Age?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(4), pages 695-721.
  13. 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.
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