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Education and Health: Insights from International Comparisons

Author

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  • David M. Cutler
  • Adriana Lleras-Muney

Abstract

In this review we synthesize what is known about the relationship between education and health. A large number of studies from both rich and poor countries show that education is associated with better health. While previous work has thought of the effect of education separately for rich and poor countries, we argue that there are insights to be gained by integrating the two. For example, education is associated with lower malnutrition in most countries, but in richer countries the educated have lower BMIs whereas in poor countries the educated have higher BMIs. This suggests that the behaviors associated with better health differ depending on the level of development. We illustrate this approach by comparing the effects of education on various health and health behaviors around the world, to generate hypotheses about why education is so often (but not always) predictive of health. Finally, we review the empirical evidence on the relationship between education and health, paying particular attention to causal evidence and evidence on mechanisms linking education to better health.

Suggested Citation

  • David M. Cutler & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2012. "Education and Health: Insights from International Comparisons," NBER Working Papers 17738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17738 Note: AG HC
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David Madden, 2016. "Do schooling reforms improve long-term health?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 306-306, October.
    2. Cutler, David M. & Huang, Wei & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2015. "When does education matter? The protective effect of education for cohorts graduating in bad times," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 63-73.
    3. repec:eee:joecag:v:6:y:2015:i:c:p:133-148 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Pedro Albarran Pérez & Marisa Hidalgo Hidalgo & Iñigo Iturbe-Ormaetxe Kortajarene, 2017. "Schooling and adult health: Can education overcome bad early-life conditions?," Working Papers. Serie AD 2017-09, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    5. Hofmann, Sarah & Mühlenweg, Andrea, 2017. "Learning Intensity Effects in Students' Mental and Physical Health - Evidence from a Large Scale Natural Experiment in Germany," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-622, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    6. Ana María Iregui-Bohórquez & Ligia Alba Melo-Becerra & María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo, 2015. "Risky Health Behaviors: Evidence for an Emerging Economy," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 013040, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    7. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2012. "Postgraduate Education and Human Capital Productivity in Japan," Discussion papers 12009, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    8. Petter Lundborg & Carl Hampus Lyttkens & Paul Nystedt, 2016. "The Effect of Schooling on Mortality: New Evidence From 50,000 Swedish Twins," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(4), pages 1135-1168, August.
    9. Venti, Steven & Wise, David A., 2015. "The long reach of education: Early retirement," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 6(C), pages 133-148.
    10. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2013. "Postgraduate Education, Labor Participation, and Wages: An empirical analysis using micro data from Japan," Discussion papers 13065, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    11. Zhong, Hai, 2016. "Effects of quantity of education on health: A regression discontinuity design approach based on the Chinese Cultural Revolution," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 62-74.
    12. Arlette Simo-Fotso, 2016. "Human Capital Accumulation of Disabled Children:Does Disability Really Matter?," Working Papers 222, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
    13. Titus J. Galama & Hans van Kippersluis, 2013. "Health Inequalities through the Lens of Health Capital Theory: Issues, Solutions, and Future Directions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-076/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    14. Li, Jinhu & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2015. "Does more education lead to better health habits? Evidence from the school reforms in Australia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 83-91.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development

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