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Understanding the Educational Attainment Polygenic Score and its Interactions with SES in Determining Health in Young Adulthood

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  • Atticus Bolyard

    (Harvard University)

  • Peter Savelyev

    (The College of William & Mary)

Abstract

We investigate an Educational Attainment Polygenic Score (EA PGS), an index that predicts years of formal education based on individual genetic data. In our analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health we find that the EA PGS is associated with a number of health-related outcomes and interacts with parental socioeconomic status (SES) in childhood. We observe that the association between EA PGS and health-related outcomes is typically strong and health-beneficial for high-SES subjects, but small or nonexistent for low-SES ones. We provide suggestive evidence of the mechanisms behind estimated relationships including early health, skills, parental and child’s own attitude towards education, education itself, as well as outcomes related to occupation and wealth. Finally, we show that a strong association between education and health-related outcomes survives controlling for genetic endowments for health and education, which adds evidence to the ongoing debate about the causal relationship between education and health.

Suggested Citation

  • Atticus Bolyard & Peter Savelyev, 2021. "Understanding the Educational Attainment Polygenic Score and its Interactions with SES in Determining Health in Young Adulthood," Working Papers 2021-026, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2021-026
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    Cited by:

    1. Savelyev, Peter A. & Ward, Benjamin C. & Krueger, Robert F. & McGue, Matt, 2022. "Health endowments, schooling allocation in the family, and longevity: Evidence from US twins," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    2. Michael Grossman, 2022. "The demand for health turns 50: Reflections," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(9), pages 1807-1822, September.
    3. Barban, Nicola & De Cao, Elisabetta & Francesconi, Marco, 2021. "Gene-Environment Effects on Female Fertility," CEPR Discussion Papers 16603, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Educational Attainment Polygenic Score; socioeconomic status; environmental bottleneck effect; Scarr-Rowe hypothesis; health; health behaviors; education; mechanisms; Add Health;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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