The Causal Effect of Education on Health: What is the Role of Health Behaviors?

Brunello, Giorgio and Fort, Margherita and Schneeweis, Nicole and Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf (2016) The Causal Effect of Education on Health: What is the Role of Health Behaviors? Health Economics, 25 (3), pp. 314-336.

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Abstract or Table of Contents

We investigate the causal effect of education on health and the part of it that is attributable to health behaviors by distinguishing between short-run and long-run mediating effects: whereas, in the former, only behaviors in the immediate past are taken into account, in the latter, we consider the entire history of behaviors. We use two identification strategies: instrumental variables based on compulsory schooling reforms and a combined aggregation, differencing, and selection on an observables technique to address the endogeneity of both education and behaviors in the health production function. Using panel data for European countries, we find that education has a protective effect for European men and women aged 50+. We find that the mediating effects of health behaviors—measured by smoking, drinking, exercising, and the body mass index—account in the short run for around a quarter and in the long run for around a third of the entire effect of education on health. (authors' abstract)

Item Type: Article in Academic Journal
Status: Published
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2015 10:30
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2017 10:40
URI: http://irihs.ihs.ac.at/id/eprint/2980

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