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Education, Health and Mortality: Evidence from a Social Experiment

  • Meghir, Costas

    ()

    (Yale University)

  • Palme, Mårten

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)

  • Simeonova, Emilia

    ()

    (Tufts University and NBER)

We study the effect of a compulsory education reform in Sweden on adult health and mortality. The reform was implemented by municipalities between 1949 and 1962 as a social experiment and implied an extension of compulsory schooling from 7 or 8 years depending on municipality to 9 years nationally. We use detailed individual data on education, hospitalizations, labor force participation and mortality for Swedes born between 1946 and 1957. Individual level data allow us to study the effect of the education reform on three main groups of outcomes: (i) mortality until age 60 for different causes of death; (ii) hospitalization by cause and (iii) exit from the labor force primarily through the disability insurance program. The results show reduced male mortality up to age fifty for those assigned to the reform, but these gains were erased by increased mortality later on. We find similar patterns in the probability of being hospitalized and the average costs of inpatient care. Men who acquired more education due to the reform are less likely to retire early.

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Paper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2012:4.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: 14 Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2012_0004
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 16 20 00
Fax: +46 8 16 14 25
Web page: http://www.ne.su.se/
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  1. David Cutler & Angus Deaton & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2005. "The Determinants of Mortality," Working Papers 164, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  2. Palme, Mårten & Svensson, Ingemar, 2001. "Income Security Programs and Retirement in Sweden," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 422, Stockholm School of Economics.
  3. Holmlund, Helena, 2007. "A Researcher's Guide to the Swedish Compulsory School Reform," Working Paper Series 9/2007, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  4. Costas Meghir & MÃ¥rten Palme, 2004. "Educational reform, ability and family background," IFS Working Papers W04/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. 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.
  6. Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Estimating Average and Local Average Treatment Effects of Education when Compulsory Schooling Laws Really Matter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 152-175, March.
  7. Damon Clark & Heather Royer, 2010. "The Effect of Education on Adult Health and Mortality: Evidence from Britain," NBER Working Papers 16013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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