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

33 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2009  

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 1, 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 Desigh 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 linearly 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 1, 2009). Netspar Discussion Paper No. 04/2009-014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1508460 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1508460

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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