Long Run Returns to Education: Does Schooling Lead to an Extended Old Age?

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 09-037/3

34 Pages Posted: 6 May 2009

See all articles by Hans van Kippersluis

Hans van Kippersluis

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE)

Owen A. O'Donnell

University of Macedonia

Eddy van Doorslaer

Erasmus School of Economics

Date Written: April 30, 2009

Abstract

While there is no doubt that health is strongly correlated with education, whether schooling exerts a causal impact on health is not yet firmly established. We exploit Dutch compulsory schooling laws in a Regression Discontinuity Design applied to linked data from health surveys, tax files and the mortality register to estimate the causal effect of education on mortality. The reform provides a powerful instrument, significantly raising years of schooling, which, in turn, has a large and significant effect on mortality even in old age. An extra year of schooling is estimated to reduce the probability of dying between ages of 81 and 88 by 2-3 percentage points relative to a baseline of 50 percent. High school graduation is estimated to reduce the probability of dying between the ages of 81 and 88 by a remarkable 17-26 percentage points but this does not appear to be due to any sheepskin effects of finishing high school on mortality beyond that predicted lin! early by additional years of schooling.

Keywords: Health, Mortality, Education, Causality, Regression Discontinuity

JEL Classification: D30, D31, I10, I12

Suggested Citation

van Kippersluis, Hans and O'Donnell, Owen A. and van Doorslaer, Eddy, Long Run Returns to Education: Does Schooling Lead to an Extended Old Age? (April 30, 2009). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 09-037/3, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1398806 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1398806

Hans Van Kippersluis (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands

Owen A. O'Donnell

University of Macedonia ( email )

156 Egnatia St.
P.O. 1591
Thessaloniki, 54006
Greece

Eddy Van Doorslaer

Erasmus School of Economics ( email )

Netherlands

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