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The Effect of Education on Health: Cross-Country Evidence

  • Raquel Fonseca
  • Yuhui Zheng

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.

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Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 1325.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1325
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  27. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding Differences in Health Behaviors by Education," Scholarly Articles 5344195, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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