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Understanding Differences in Health Behaviors by Education

  • Cutler, David M.
  • Lleras-Muney, Adriana
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    Using a variety of data sets from two countries, we examine possible explanations for the relationship between education and health behaviors, known as the education gradient. We show that income, health insurance, and family background can account for about 30 percent of the gradient. Knowledge and measures of cognitive ability explain an additional 30 percent. Social networks account for another 10 percent. Our proxies for discounting, risk aversion, or the value of future do not account for any of the education gradient, and neither do personality factors such as a sense of control of oneself or over one’s life.

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    File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/5344195/understanding%20differences.pdf
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    Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 5344195.

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    Date of creation: 2010
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    Publication status: Published in Journal of Health Economics
    Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:5344195
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    Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/
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    1. Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J. & Mullen, K.J.Kathleen J., 2004. "The effect of schooling and ability on achievement test scores," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 39-98.
    2. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother'S Education And The Intergenerational Transmission Of Human Capital: Evidence From College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532, November.
    3. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2004. "The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," Working Papers 246, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
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    5. Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Why Are There Returns to Schooling?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 153-58, May.
    6. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1989. "Schooling, Information and Nonmarket Productivity: Contraceptive Use and Its Effectiveness," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(2), pages 457-77, May.
    7. Jere R. Behrman, University of Pennsylvania & John Hoddinott & John Maluccio & Erica Soler-Hampejsek & Emily L. Behrman & Reynaldo Martorell & Manuel Ramirez-Zea, Institute of Nutrition for Central Am, 2006. "What Determines Adult Cognitive Skills? Impacts of Pre-Schooling, Schooling and Post-Schooling Experiences in Guatemala," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0615, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    8. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    9. Mustard, Cameron A. & Derksen, Shelley & Berthelot, Jean-marie & Wolfson, Michael & Roos, Leslie L., 1997. "Age-specific education and income gradients in morbidity and mortality in a Canadian province," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 383-397, August.
    10. Khwaja, Ahmed & Silverman, Dan & Sloan, Frank, 2007. "Time preference, time discounting, and smoking decisions," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 927-949, September.
    11. Catherine Ross & John Mirowsky, 1999. "Refining the association between education and health: The effects of quantity, credential, and selectivity," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 445-460, November.
    12. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    13. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser, 2005. "What Explains Differences in Smoking, Drinking and Other Health-Related Behaviors," NBER Working Papers 11100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. 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.
    15. Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2005. "What Explains Differences in Smoking, Drinking, and Other Health Related Behaviors," Scholarly Articles 2664274, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    16. Goldman Dana P & Lakdawalla Darius N., 2005. "A Theory of Health Disparities and Medical Technology," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-32, September.
    17. David M. Cutler & Jonathan Gruber & Raymond S. Hartman & M.B. Landrum, J. Newhouse & Meredith B. Rosenthal, 2000. "The Economic Impacts of the Tobacco Settlement," NBER Working Papers 7760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Victor R. Fuchs, 1982. "Time Preference and Health: An Exploratory Study," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 93-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Frank J. Chaloupka, 1990. "Rational Addictive Behavior and Cigarette Smoking," NBER Working Papers 3268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. M. Christopher Auld & Nirmal Sidhu, 2005. "Schooling, cognitive ability and health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(10), pages 1019-1034.
    21. John Cawley & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2006. "Beyond BMI: The Value of More Accurate Measures of Fatness and Obesity in Social Science Research," NBER Working Papers 12291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Jeffrey R Kling & Jeffrey B Liebman & Lawrence F Katz, 2007. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 83-119, 01.
    23. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding differences in health behaviors by education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-28, January.
    24. Jonathan Gruber, 2001. "Tobacco at the Crossroads: The Past and Future of Smoking Regulation in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 193-212, Spring.
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