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Education, Health and Mortality: Evidence from a Social Experiment

Author

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  • Meghir, Costas

    () (Yale University)

  • Palme, Mårten

    () (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)

  • Simeonova, Emilia

    () (Tufts University and NBER)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2012_0004
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Holmlund, Helena, 2007. "A Researcher's Guide to the Swedish Compulsory School Reform," Working Paper Series 9/2007, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    2. David Cutler & Angus Deaton & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. "The Determinants of Mortality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, pages 97-120.
    3. Mårten Palme & Ingemar Svensson, 2004. "Income Security Programs and Retirement in Sweden," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation, pages 579-642 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2005. "Educational Reform, Ability, and Family Background," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 414-424.
    5. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Causal effects of education; Compulsory schooling laws; Comprehensive school reforms; Education reform; Returns to schooling;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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