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The Effect of Education on Health: Cross-Country Evidence

  • Raquel Fonseca
  • Yuhui Zheng

This paper sheds light on the causal relationship between education and health outcomes. It combines three surveys (SHARE, HRS and ELSA) that include nationally representative samples of people aged 50 and over from thirteen OECD countries. It uses variation in the timing of educational reforms across these countries as an instrument for education. Using IV-Probit models, it finds causal evidence that more years of education lead to a lower probability of reporting poor health and lower prevalence for diabetes and hypertension. These effects are larger than those from the Probit, that do not control for the endogeneity of education. The relationship between education and cancer is positive in both Probit and IV-Probit models. The causal impacts of education on other chronic conditions as well as functional status are not established using IV-Probit models.

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File URL: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/working_papers/2011/RAND_WR864.pdf
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Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 864.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:864
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2010. "Does Education Reduce the Risk of Hypertension? Estimating the Biomarker Effect of Compulsory Schooling in England," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 173-202.
  4. Albouy, Valerie & Lequien, Laurent, 2009. "Does compulsory education lower mortality?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 155-168, January.
  5. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding Differences in Health Behaviors by Education," Scholarly Articles 5344195, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Kemptner, Daniel & Jürges, Hendrik & Reinhold, Steffen, 2011. "Changes in compulsory schooling and the causal effect of education on health: Evidence from Germany," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 340-354, March.
  7. Peter Adams & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden & Angela Merrill & Tiago Ribeiro, 2004. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Tests for Direct Causal Paths between Health and Socioeconomic Status," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 415-526 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Brunello, Giorgio & Fort, Margherita & Schneeweis, Nicole & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2011. "The Causal Effect of Education on Health: What is the Role of Health Behaviors?," IZA Discussion Papers 5944, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Scott Adams, 2002. "Educational Attainment and Health: Evidence from a Sample of Older Adults," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 97-109.
  10. David M. Cutler & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. "Education and Health: Evaluating Theories and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 12352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Eide, Eric R. & Showalter, Mark H., 2011. "Estimating the relation between health and education: What do we know and what do we need to know?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 778-791, October.
  12. 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.
  13. Filer, Randall K. & Jurajda, Stepan & Planovsky, Jan, 1999. "Education and wages in the Czech and Slovak Republics during transition," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 581-593, November.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Anirban Basu & James J. Heckman & Salvador Navarro-Lozano & Sergio Urzua, 2007. "Use of instrumental variables in the presence of heterogeneity and self-selection: an application to treatments of breast cancer patients," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(11), pages 1133-1157.
  17. 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.
  18. Victor R. Fuchs, 1980. "Time Preference and Health: An Exploratory Study," NBER Working Papers 0539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Michael Grossman, 2005. "Education and Nonmarket Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 11582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-60, September.
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  22. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-355918 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. 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.
  24. Jusot, Florence & Kunst, Anton E. & Leinsalu, Mall & Menvielle, Gwenn & Schaap, Maartje M. & Roskam, Albert-Jan R. & Stirbu, Irina & Mackenbach, Johan P., 2008. "Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health in 22 European Countries," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/10510, Paris Dauphine University.
  25. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2008. "Does education improve health? A reexamination of the evidence from compulsory schooling laws," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 2-16.
  26. Fletcher, Jason M. & Lehrer, Steven F., 2011. "Genetic lotteries within families," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 647-659, July.
  27. 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.
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