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Education, Cognition and Health: Evidence from a Social Experiment

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  • Costas Meghir
  • Mårten Palme
  • Emilia Simeonova

Abstract

In this paper we examine how an education policy intervention - the introduction of a comprehensive school in Sweden that increased the number of compulsory years of schooling, affected cognitive and non-cognitive skills and long-term health. We use detailed administrative data combined with survey information to create a data set with background information, child ability and long-term adult outcomes. We show that extra education results in significant gains in skills among children, but the effects on long-term health are overall negligible. However, we demonstrate that the schooling reform had heterogeneous effects across family socio-economic backgrounds and initial skill endowments, with significant improvements in cognition and skills for lower Socio-economic status individuals and lower ability people.

Suggested Citation

  • Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme & Emilia Simeonova, 2013. "Education, Cognition and Health: Evidence from a Social Experiment," NBER Working Papers 19002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Mikael Lindahl & Mårten Palme & Sofia Sandgren Massih & Anna Sjögren, 2015. "Long-Term Intergenerational Persistence of Human Capital: An Empirical Analysis of Four Generations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(1), pages 1-33.
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    9. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2005. "Educational Reform, Ability, and Family Background," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 414-424, March.
    10. Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2005. "The Relationship Between Education and Adult Mortality in the United States," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 189-221.
    11. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
    12. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dora L. Costa, 2015. "Health and the Economy in the United States from 1750 to the Present," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(3), pages 503-570, September.
    2. Davide Azzolini & Loris Vergolini, 2014. "Tracking, Inequality and Education Policy. Looking for a Recipe for the Italian Case," FBK-IRVAPP Working Papers 2014-08, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (IRVAPP), Bruno Kessler Foundation.
    3. 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.
    4. Bastian Ravesteijn & Hans van Kippersluis & Mauricio Avendano & Pekka Martikainen & Hannu Vessari & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2017. "The Impact of Later Tracking on Mortality by Parental Income in Finland," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-030/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. 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.
    6. Govert E. Bijwaard & Mikko Myrskylä & Per Tynelius & Finn Rasmussen, 2017. "Educational gain in cause-specific mortality: accounting for confounders," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2017-003, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    7. Bijwaard, G.E. & Jones, A.M., 2015. "Intelligence and the Mortality Difference by Education: Selection or mediation?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/07, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    8. Govert e. Bijwaard & Hans Van Kippersluis, 2016. "Efficiency of Health Investment: Education or Intelligence?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(9), pages 1056-1072, September.
    9. Bijwaard, Govert & Myrskylä, Mikko & Tynelius, Per & Rasmussen, Finn, 2016. "Education, Cognitive Ability and Cause-Specific Mortality: A Structural Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 10137, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Leuven, Edwin & Plug, Erik & Rønning, Marte, 2016. "Education and cancer risk," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 106-121.
    11. Madsen, Mia & Andersen, Per K. & Gerster, Mette & Andersen, Anne-Marie N. & Christensen, Kaare & Osler, Merete, 2014. "Are the educational differences in incidence of cardiovascular disease explained by underlying familial factors? A twin study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 182-190.
    12. 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.
    13. Bijwaard, Govert & Jones, Andrew M., 2016. "Cognitive Ability and the Mortality Gradient by Education: Selection or Mediation?," IZA Discussion Papers 9798, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Adam M. Lavecchia & Heidi Liu & Philip Oreopoulos, 2014. "Behavioral Economics of Education: Progress and Possibilities," NBER Working Papers 20609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. repec:eee:socmed:v:184:y:2017:i:c:p:49-56 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Palme, Mårten & Simeonova, Emilia, 2015. "Does women's education affect breast cancer risk and survival? Evidence from a population based social experiment in education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 115-124.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy

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