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Could Easier Access to University Improve Health and Reduce Health Inequalities?

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Abstract

This paper estimates the impact of university education on medical care use and its income related inequality. We do this by exploiting an arbitrary university eligibility rule in Sweden combined with regression discontinuity design for the years 2003-2013 for students who graduated 2003-2005. We find a clear jump in university attendance due to university eligibility. This jump coincides with a positive jump in prescriptions for contraceptives for females but also a positive jump in mental health related hospital admissions for males. Analysis of the inequality impact of tertiary eligibility finds no clear impact on medical care use by socioeconomic status of the parents. The results imply that easing access to university for the lower ability student will lead to an increase in contraceptive use without increasing its socioeconomic related inequality. At the same time, the results highlight that universities may need to do more to take care of the mental health of their least able students.

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  • Heckley, Gawain & Nordin, Martin & Gerdtham, Ulf-G., 2018. "Could Easier Access to University Improve Health and Reduce Health Inequalities?," Working Papers 2018:5, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2018_005
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    Keywords

    Health returns to education; demand for medical care; causes of health inequality; Regression Discontinuity Design; Concentration Index;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education

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