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The Causal Effect of Education on Health

  • Brunello, Giorgio

    (Department of Economics, University of Padua, Padov, Italy)

  • Fort, Margherita

    (Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy)

  • Schneeweis, Nicole

    (Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria)

  • Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf

    (Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University, Linz, and Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria)

We study the contribution of health-related behaviors to the health-education gradient by distinguishing between short-run and long-run mediating effects:while in the former only current or lagged behaviors are taken into account, in the latter we consider the entire history of behaviors. We use an empirical approach that addresses the endogeneity of education and behaviors in the health production function. Focusing on self-reported poor health as our health out-come, we find that education has a protective effect for European males and females aged 50+. We also find that the mediating effects of health behaviors - measured by smoking, drinking, exercising and the body mass index – account in the short run for 17% to 31% and in the long run for 23% to 45% of the entire effect of education on health, depending on gender.

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File URL: http://www.ihs.ac.at/publications/eco/es-280.pdf
File Function: First version, 2011
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Paper provided by Institute for Advanced Studies in its series Economics Series with number 280.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ihs:ihsesp:280
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  1. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Giorgio Brunello & Daniele Fabbri & Margherita Fort, 2010. "Years of Schooling, Human Capital and the Body Mass Index of European Females," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 262, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  3. Kemptner, Daniel & Jürges, Hendrik & Reinhold, Steffen, 2011. "Changes in compulsory schooling and the causal effect of education on health: Evidence from Germany," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 340-354, March.
  4. Florian Heiss, 2011. "Dynamics of self-rated health and selective mortality," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 119-140, February.
  5. Hendrik Jürges & Eberhard Kruk & Steffen Reinhold, 2013. "The effect of compulsory schooling on health—evidence from biomarkers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 645-672, April.
  6. James Banks & Zoe Oldfield & James P. Smith, 2011. "Childhood Health and Differences in Late-Life Health Outcomes Between England and the United States," NBER Working Papers 17096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Margherita Fort & Nicole Schneeweis & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2011. "More Schooling, More Children: Compulsory Schooling Reforms and Fertility in Europe," CHILD Working Papers wp15_11, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  8. David Card & Jesse Rothstein, 2006. "Racial Segregation and the Black-White Test Score Gap," NBER Working Papers 12078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Braakmann, Nils, 2011. "The causal relationship between education, health and health related behaviour: Evidence from a natural experiment in England," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 753-763, July.
  10. 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.
  11. Cawley, John & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2011. "The Economics of Risky Health Behaviors," IZA Discussion Papers 5728, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Scott Adams, 2002. "Educational Attainment and Health: Evidence from a Sample of Older Adults," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 97-109.
  13. Till Stowasser & Florian Heiss & Daniel McFadden & Joachim Winter, 2011. ""Healthy, Wealthy and Wise?" Revisited: An Analysis of the Causal Pathways from Socioeconomic Status to Health," NBER Chapters, in: Investigations in the Economics of Aging, pages 267-317 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2010. "Does Education Reduce the Risk of Hypertension? Estimating the Biomarker Effect of Compulsory Schooling in England," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 173-202.
  15. Giorgio Brunello & Daniele Fabbri & Margherita Fort, 2013. "The Causal Effect of Education on Body Mass: Evidence from Europe," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 195 - 223.
  16. Arendt, Jacob Nielsen, 2008. "In sickness and in health--Till education do us part: Education effects on hospitalization," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 161-172, April.
  17. Gabriella Conti & James Heckman & Sergio Urzua, 2010. "The Education-Health Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 234-38, May.
  18. Meghir, Costas & Palme, Mårten & Simeonova, Emilia, 2012. "Education, Health and Mortality: Evidence from a Social Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 6462, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Albouy, Valerie & Lequien, Laurent, 2009. "Does compulsory education lower mortality?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 155-168, January.
  20. Michael Baker & Mark Stabile & Catherine Deri, 2001. "What do Self-Reported, Objective, Measures of Health Measure?," NBER Working Papers 8419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Contoyannis, Paul & Jones, Andrew M., 2004. "Socio-economic status, health and lifestyle," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 965-995, September.
  22. Garrouste, Christelle, 2010. "100 years of educational reforms in Europe: a contextual database," MPRA Paper 31853, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  23. Giorgio Brunello & Margherita Fort & Guglielmo Weber, 2009. "Changes in Compulsory Schooling, Education and the Distribution of Wages in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 516-539, 03.
  24. Arendt, Jacob Nielsen, 2005. "Does education cause better health? A panel data analysis using school reforms for identification," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 149-160, April.
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