The Causal Effect of Education on Health: What is the Role of Health Behaviors?

43 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2011  

Giorgio Brunello

University of Padua - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Margherita Fort

University of Bologna

Nicole E. Schneeweis

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics

Rudolf Winter-Ebmer

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

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2011

Abstract

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.

Keywords: education, Europe, health, health behaviours

JEL Classification: I1, I12, I21

Suggested Citation

Brunello, Giorgio and Fort, Margherita and Schneeweis, Nicole E. and Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, The Causal Effect of Education on Health: What is the Role of Health Behaviors? (December 2011). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8707. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1976049

Giorgio Brunello (Contact Author)

University of Padua - Department of Economics ( email )

via Del Santo 33
35121 Padova
Italy
+39 049 827 4223 (Phone)
+39 049 827 4221 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

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Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Margherita Fort

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, 40100
Italy

Nicole E. Schneeweis

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics ( email )

Altenbergerstrasse 69
A-4040 Linz, 4040
Austria

Rudolf Winter-Ebmer

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics ( email )

Altenbergerstrasse 69
A-4040 Linz, 4040
Austria
+43 732 2468 8236 (Phone)
+43 732 2468 8238 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.jku.at/winter

Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) - Department of Economics & Finance ( email )

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A-1060 Vienna, A-1060
Austria

HOME PAGE: http://www.ihs.ac.at

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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