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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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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 Card & Jesse Rothstein, 2005. "Racial Segregation and the Black-White Test Score Gap," Working Papers 93, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  2. 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.
  3. Brunello, Giorgio & Fabbri, Daniele & Fort, Margherita, 2009. "Years of Schooling, Human Capital and the Body Mass Index of European Females," IZA Discussion Papers 4667, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Margherita Fort & Nichole Schneeweis & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2011. "More Schooling, More Children: Compulsory Schooling Reforms and Fertility in Europe," Economics working papers 2011-05, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Florian Heiss, 2011. "Dynamics of self-rated health and selective mortality," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 119-140, February.
  10. Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2010. "Does Education Reduce the Risk of Hypertension? Estimating the Biomarker Effect of Compulsory Schooling in England," IZA Discussion Papers 4847, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Garrouste, Christelle, 2010. "100 years of educational reforms in Europe: a contextual database," MPRA Paper 31853, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. Contoyannis, Paul & Jones, Andrew M., 2004. "Socio-economic status, health and lifestyle," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 965-995, September.
  18. Kemptner, Daniel & Jürges, Hendrik & Reinhold, Steffen, 2010. "Changes in Compulsory Schooling and the Causal Effect of Education on Health: Evidence from Germany," MEA discussion paper series 10200, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  19. 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.
  20. John Cawley & Christopher Ruhm, 2011. "The Economics of Risky Health Behaviors," NBER Working Papers 17081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. James Banks & Zoë Oldfield & James P. Smith, 2011. "Childhood Health and Differences in Late-Life Health Outcomes between England and the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Investigations in the Economics of Aging, pages 321-339 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Albouy, Valerie & Lequien, Laurent, 2009. "Does compulsory education lower mortality?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 155-168, January.
  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. Gabriella Conti & James Heckman & Sergio Urzua, 2010. "The Education-Health Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 234-38, May.
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