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Schooling, cognitive ability, and health

  • M. Christopher Auld

    (University of Calgary)

  • Nirmal Sidhu

    (University of Calgary)

A large literature documents a strong correlation between health and educational outcomes. In this paper we investigate the role of cognitive ability in the health–education nexus. Using NLSY data, we show that cognitive ability accounts for roughly one quarter of the association between schooling and health. Both schooling and ability are strongly associated with health at low levels but less related or unrelated at high levels. Estimates treating schooling as endogenous to health suggest that most of the correlation between schooling and health is attributable to unobserved heterogeneity, except possibly at low levels of schooling for individuals with low cognitive ability. An implication is that policies which increase schooling will only increase health to the extent that they increase the education of poorly-educated individuals; subsidies to college education, for example, are unlikely to increase population health.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/hew/papers/0406/0406001.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series HEW with number 0406001.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 06 Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwphe:0406001
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 41
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  12. Donald Kenkel & Dean Lillard & Alan Mathios, 2006. "The Roles of High School Completion and GED Receipt in Smoking and Obesity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 635-660, July.
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  17. Mark C. Berger & J. Paul Leigh, 1989. "Schooling, Self-Selection, and Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 433-455.
  18. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  19. Dana Goldman & Darius Lakdawalla, 2001. "Understanding Health Disparities Across Education Groups," NBER Working Papers 8328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Garen, John, 1984. "The Returns to Schooling: A Selectivity Bias Approach with a Continuous Choice Variable," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(5), pages 1199-1218, September.
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  23. James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1998. "Instrumental Variables Methods for the Correlated Random Coefficient Model: Estimating the Average Rate of Return to Schooling When the Return is Correlated with Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 974-987.
  24. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2004. "The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," Working Papers 246, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  25. 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.
  26. Hartog, Joop & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1998. "Health, wealth and happiness: why pursue a higher education?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 245-256, June.
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