Does Schooling Affect Health Behavior? Evidence from the Educational Expansion in Western Germany

31 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2009

See all articles by Hendrik Jürges

Hendrik Jürges

University of Mannheim - Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging (MEA); German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Steffen Reinhold

E.CA Economics

Martin Salm

Tilburg University; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

During the postwar period German states pursued policies to increase the share of young Germans obtaining a university entrance diploma (Abitur) by building more academic track schools, but the timing of educational expansion differed between states. This creates exogenous variation in the availability of higher education, which allows estimating the causal effect of education on health behaviors. Using the number of academic track schools in a state as an instrumental variable for years of schooling, we investigate the causal effect of schooling on health behavior such as smoking and related outcomes such as obesity. We find large negative effects of education on smoking. These effects can mostly be attributed to reductions in starting rates rather than increases in quitting rates. We find no causal effect of education on reduced overweight and obesity.

Keywords: education, smoking, obesity

JEL Classification: I12, I20

Suggested Citation

Jürges, Hendrik and Reinhold, Steffen and Salm, Martin, Does Schooling Affect Health Behavior? Evidence from the Educational Expansion in Western Germany. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4330, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1442645

Hendrik Jürges (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim - Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging (MEA) ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Steffen Reinhold

E.CA Economics ( email )

Schlossplatz 1
Berlin, 10178
Germany

Martin Salm

Tilburg University ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, DC Noord-Brabant 5000 LE
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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