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Changes in Compulsory Schooling and the Causal Effect of Education on Health: Evidence from Germany

  • Kemptner, Daniel

    ()

  • Jürges, Hendrik

    ()

  • Reinhold, Steffen

    ()

    (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))

In this paper we investigate the causal effect of years of schooling on health and health-related behavior in West Germany. We apply an instrumental variables approach using as natural experiments several changes in compulsory schooling laws between 1949 and 1969. These law changes generate exogenous variation in years of schooling both across states and over time. We find evidence for a strong and significant causal effect of years of schooling on long-term illness for men but not for women. Moreover, we provide somewhat weaker evidence of a causal effect of education on the likelihood of having weight problems for both sexes. On the other hand, we find little evidence for a causal effect of education on smoking behavior. Overall, our estimates suggest significant non-monetary returns to education with respect to health outcomes and not necessarily with respect to health-related behavior.

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Paper provided by Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in its series MEA discussion paper series with number 10200.

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Date of creation: 05 Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:10200
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  1. 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.
  2. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-58, August.
  3. Hendrik Jürges & Kerstin Schneider, 2011. "Why Young Boys Stumble: Early Tracking, Age and Gender Bias in the German School System," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(4), pages 371-394, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 2003. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence from the German Short School Year," NBER Working Papers 9964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jürges, Hendrik & Reinhold, Steffen & Salm, Martin, 2009. "Does Schooling Affect Health Behavior? Evidence from the Educational Expansion in Western Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 4330, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Jorn-Steffen Pischke & Till von Wachter, 2005. "Zero Returns to Compulsory Schooling In Germany: Evidence and Interpretation," NBER Working Papers 11414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic status and health in childhood: the origins of the gradient," Working Papers 262, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  9. Silles, Mary A., 2009. "The causal effect of education on health: Evidence from the United Kingdom," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 122-128, February.
  10. Philip Oreopoulos, 2006. "Estimating Average and Local Average Treatment Effects of Education when Compulsory Schooling Laws Really Matter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 152-175, March.
  11. Albouy, Valerie & Lequien, Laurent, 2009. "Does compulsory education lower mortality?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 155-168, January.
  12. 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).
  13. 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.
  14. Kenkel, Donald S, 1991. "Health Behavior, Health Knowledge, and Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 287-305, April.
  15. Steffen Reinhold & Hendrik Jürges, 2009. "Parental Income and Child Health in Germany," MEA discussion paper series 09175, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  16. Steffen Reinhold & Hendrik Jürges, 2010. "Secondary school fees and the causal effect of schooling on health behavior," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(8), pages 994-1001, August.
  17. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
  18. Pedro Carneiro & Claire Crawford & Alissa Goodman, 2007. "The Impact of Early Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills on Later Outcomes," CEE Discussion Papers 0092, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  19. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2005. "Sex differences in morbidity and mortality," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 189-214, May.
  20. de Walque, Damien, 2007. "Does education affect smoking behaviors?: Evidence using the Vietnam draft as an instrument for college education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 877-895, September.
  21. 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.
  22. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding Differences in Health Behaviors by Education," Scholarly Articles 5344195, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  23. Rodolfo Nayga, 2000. "Schooling, health knowledge and obesity," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(7), pages 815-822.
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