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Does Higher Education Reduce Mortality? Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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  • Bautista, María Angélica
  • González, Felipe
  • Martínez, Luis R.
  • Muñoz, Pablo
  • Prem, Mounu

Abstract

We provide new evidence on the causal effect of education on health. Our empirical strategy exploits the reduction in access to college experienced by individuals reaching college age shortly after the 1973 military coup in Chile, which led to a sharp downward kink in enrollment for the affected cohorts. Using data from the vital statistics for the period 1994-2017, we document an upward kink in the age-adjusted yearly mortality rate for these cohorts, a pattern that we also observe in matched individual-level records for hospitalized patients. Leveraging the downward kink in college enrollment, we estimate a negative effect of college on mortality, which is larger for men, but also sizable for women. Affected individuals have worse labor market outcomes, lower income, and are more likely to be enrolled in the public health system. They also report lower consumption of health services, which suggests that economic disadvantage and limited access to care plausibly contribute to the effect of education on health.

Suggested Citation

  • Bautista, María Angélica & González, Felipe & Martínez, Luis R. & Muñoz, Pablo & Prem, Mounu, 2021. "Does Higher Education Reduce Mortality? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Working papers 80, Red Investigadores de Economía.
  • Handle: RePEc:rie:riecdt:80
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    1. Gonzalez, F & Prem, M, 2021. "The Legacy of the Pinochet Regime," Documentos de Trabajo 019446, Universidad del Rosario.
    2. Bautista, María Angélica & Gonzalez, Felipe & Martinez, Luis R. & Muñoz, Pablo & Prem, Mounu, 2022. "The Intergenerational Transmission of College: Evidence from the 1973 Coup in Chile," SocArXiv eyw2a, Center for Open Science.

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    Keywords

    Higher education; mortality; Chile;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I - Health, Education, and Welfare

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