Sunday, November 21, 2010

Education and health behaviours

A priori it seems reasonable that one of the benefits of more education is better health. For a start there is a positive socioeconomic gradient: more educated people have better health on average. That does not imply one causes the other: both are forms of human capital so it could be some common factor like discount rates that drives the association. But one might think more educated people make better health investment decisions if they are more aware of health risks and there may also be direct cash effects. This paper however finds no evidence of effects.

The causal relationship between education, health and health related behaviour: Evidence from a natural experiment in England
Nils Braakmann (Newcastle University Business School)
I exploit exogenous variation in the likelihood to obtain any sort of academic degree between January- and February-born individuals for 13 academic cohorts in England. For these cohorts compulsory schooling laws interacted with the timing of the CGE and O-level exams to change the probability of obtaining an academic degree by around 2 to 3 percentage points. I then use data on individuals born in these two months from the British Labour Force Survey and the Health Survey for England to investigate the effects of education on health using being February-born as an instrument for education. The results indicate neither an effect of education on various health related measures nor an effect on health related behaviour, e.g., smoking, drinking or eating various types of food.

No comments: