The Causal Effect of Education on Health: What is the Role of Health Behaviors?
University of Padua - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
University of Bologna
Nicole E. Schneeweis
Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics
Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics; Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) - Department of Economics & Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics
CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8707
We study the contribution of health-related behaviors to the health-education gradient by distinguishing between short-run and long-run mediating effects: while in the former only current or lagged behaviors are taken into account, in the latter we consider the entire history of behaviors. We use an empirical approach that addresses the endogeneity of education and behaviors in the health production function. Focusing on self-reported poor health as our health outcome, we find that education has a protective effect for European males and females aged 50 . We also find that the mediating effects of health behaviors -- measured by smoking, drinking, exercising and the body mass index -- account in the short run for 17% to 31% and in the long run for 23% to 45% of the entire effect of education on health, depending on gender.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: education, Europe, health, health behaviours
JEL Classification: I1, I12, I21
Date posted: December 22, 2011