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The Effect of Education on Health: Cross-Country Evidence

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  • Raquel Fonseca
  • Yuhui Zheng

Abstract

This paper uses comparable micro-data from over 15 OECD countries to study the causal relationship between education and health outcomes. We combine three surveys (SHARE, HRS and ELSA) that include nationally representative samples of people aged 50 and over in these countries. We use variation in the timing of educational reforms across these countries as an instrument for the effect of education on health. Using instrumental variables Probit models (IV-Probit), we find causal evidence that more years of education lead to better health for a limited number of health markers. We find lower probabilities of reporting poor health, of having limitations in functional status (ADLs and iADLs) and of having been diagnosed with diabetes. These effects are larger than those from a Probit that does not control for the endogeneity of education. We cannot find evidence of a causal effect of education on other health conditions. Interestingly, the relationship between education and cancer is positive in both Probit and IV-Probit models, which we interpret as evidence that education fosters early detection.

Suggested Citation

  • Raquel Fonseca & Yuhui Zheng, 2013. "The Effect of Education on Health: Cross-Country Evidence," Cahiers de recherche 1325, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1325
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hamad, Rita & Elser, Holly & Tran, Duy C. & Rehkopf, David H. & Goodman, Steven N., 2018. "How and why studies disagree about the effects of education on health: A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies of compulsory schooling laws," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 212(C), pages 168-178.
    2. Pradeep Kumar Choudhury, 2015. "Explaining the Role of Parental Education in the Regional Variations in Infant Mortality in India," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 544-572, September.
    3. James Poterba & Steven Venti & David A. Wise, 2013. "Health, Education, and the Postretirement Evolution of Household Assets," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 297-339.
    4. Margherita Fort & Nicole Schneeweis & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2014. "More Schooling, More Children? Compulsory Schooling and Fertility in Europe," CESifo Working Paper Series 5068, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education; health; causality; compulsory schooling laws;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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