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The Effect of College Education on Health

  • Kasey Buckles
  • Andreas Hagemann
  • Ofer Malamud
  • Melinda S. Morrill
  • Abigail K. Wozniak

We exploit exogenous variation in college completion induced by draft-avoidance behavior during the Vietnam War to examine the impact of college completion on adult mortality. Our preferred estimates imply that increasing college completion rates from the level of the state with the lowest induced rate to the highest would decrease cumulative mortality by 28 percent relative to the mean. Most of the reduction in mortality is from deaths due to cancer and heart disease. We also explore potential mechanisms, including differential earnings, health insurance, and health behaviors, using data from the Census, ACS, and NHIS.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19222.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19222.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19222
Note: ED HE LS PE
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  1. Daniel Sullivan & Till von Wachter, 2009. "Job Displacement and Mortality: An Analysis Using Administrative Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1265-1306, August.
  2. Finkelstein, Amy & McKnight, Robin, 2008. "What did Medicare do? The initial impact of Medicare on mortality and out of pocket medical spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1644-1668, July.
  3. Sarah Turner, 2004. "Going to College and Finishing College.Explaining Different Educational Outcomes," NBER Chapters, in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 13-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  5. Dalton Conley & Jennifer A. Heerwig, 2009. "The Long-Term Effects of Military Conscription on Mortality: Estimates from the Vietnam-era Draft Lottery," NBER Working Papers 15105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Franque Grimard & Daniel Parent, 2003. "Education and Smoking: Were Vietnam War Draft Avoiders Also More Likely to Avoid Smoking?," CIRANO Working Papers 2003s-44, CIRANO.
  8. Thomas Lemieux & David Card, 2001. "Going to College to Avoid the Draft: The Unintended Legacy of the Vietnam War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 97-102, May.
  9. 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.
  10. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville, 2011. "Long-Run Mortality Effects of Vietnam-Era Army Service: Evidence from Australia's Conscription Lotteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 345-49, May.
  11. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen & Brigham R. Frandsen, 2009. "Did Vietnam Veterans Get Sicker in the 1990s? The Complicated Effects of Military Service on Self-Reported Health," NBER Working Papers 14781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Arendt, Jacob Nielsen, 2005. "Does education cause better health? A panel data analysis using school reforms for identification," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 149-160, April.
  13. Marianne P. Bitler & Lucie Schmidt, 2012. "Birth Rates and the Vietnam Draft," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 566-69, May.
  14. 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.
  15. Cragg, John G. & Donald, Stephen G., 1993. "Testing Identifiability and Specification in Instrumental Variable Models," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 222-240, April.
  16. Abigail Wozniak, 2010. "Are College Graduates More Responsive to Distant Labor Market Opportunities?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 944-970.
  17. Kahn, Lisa B., 2010. "The long-term labor market consequences of graduating from college in a bad economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 303-316, April.
  18. Meghir, Costas & Palme, Mårten & Simeonova, Emilia, 2012. "Education, Health and Mortality: Evidence from a Social Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 6462, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. 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.
  20. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  21. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding Differences in Health Behaviors by Education," Scholarly Articles 5344195, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  22. Black, Dan & Sanders, Seth & Taylor, Lowell, 2003. "Measurement of Higher Education in the Census and Current Population Survey," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 98, pages 545-554, January.
  23. Philip Oreopoulos & Till von Wachter & Andrew Heisz, 2012. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 1-29, January.
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