Education and Health: The Role of Cognitive Ability

45 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2013

See all articles by Govert E. Bijwaard

Govert E. Bijwaard

Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI); Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Hans van Kippersluis

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

Justus Veenman

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Institute for Sociological and Economic Research; Tinbergen Institute

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Abstract

We aim to disentangle the relative contributions of (i) cognitive ability, and (ii) education on health and mortality using a structural equation model suggested by Conti et al. (2010). We extend their model by allowing for a duration dependent variable, and an ordinal educational variable. Data come from a Dutch cohort born between 1937 and 1941, including detailed measures of cognitive ability and family background at age 12. The data are subsequently linked to the mortality register 1995-2011, such that we observe mortality between ages 55 and 75. The results suggest that at least half of the unconditional survival differences between educational groups are due to a 'selection effect', primarily on basis of cognitive ability. Conditional survival differences across those having finished just primary school and those entering secondary education are still substantial, and amount to a 4 years gain in life expectancy, on average.

Keywords: education, cognitive ability, mortality, structural equation model, duration model

JEL Classification: C41, I14, I24

Suggested Citation

Bijwaard, Govert and van Kippersluis, Hans and Veenman, Justus, Education and Health: The Role of Cognitive Ability. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7648, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2342500

Govert Bijwaard (Contact Author)

Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) ( email )

P.O. Box 11650
NL-2502 AR The Hague
Netherlands
+31 70 3565224 (Phone)

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

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Hans Van Kippersluis

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

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands

Justus Veenman

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Institute for Sociological and Economic Research ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
+31 10 408 2776 (Phone)
+31 10 408 9141 (Fax)

Tinbergen Institute

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

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