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The Impact of Childhood Health on Adult Educational Attainment: Evidence from Modern Mandatory School Vaccination Laws

This paper examines the impact of post-neonatal childhood health on adult educational attainment using evidence from mandatory school vaccination laws in the U.S. After the development of a number of key vaccines, states began to require proof of immunization against certain infectious diseases for children entering school. I exploit the staggered implementation of the laws across states to identify both the short-run impacts on child health and long-term effects on educational attainment. First, I show that the mandatory school vaccination laws were effective in reducing the incidence rates of the targeted diseases. Next, I find sizable and positive effects on educational outcomes as measured by high school completion and years of schooling. The effect on educational attainment is twice as large for non-whites relative to whites.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 1202.

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Length: 34 pgs.
Date of creation: 20 Feb 2012
Date of revision: 29 Oct 2012
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1202
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  1. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding Differences in Health Behaviors by Education," Scholarly Articles 5344195, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Peter Hinrichs, 2010. "The effects of the National School Lunch Program on education and health," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 479-505.
  3. Kenneth Y. Chay & Jonathan Guryan & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2009. "Birth Cohort and the Black-White Achievement Gap: The Roles of Access and Health Soon After Birth," NBER Working Papers 15078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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