The Effect of College Education on Health and Mortality: Evidence from Canada

26 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2019

See all articles by Guy Lacroix

Guy Lacroix

Université Laval - Département d'Économique; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Francois Laliberté-Auger

HEC Montreal

Pierre-Carl Michaud

University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) - Department of Economics; Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi (CIRPÉE); RAND Corporation, Labor and Population; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Netspar

Daniel Parent

McGill University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

We investigate the returns to college attendance in Canada in terms of health and mortality reduction. To do so, we first use a dynamic health microsimulation model to document how interventions which incentivize college attendance among high school graduates may impact their health trajectory, health care consumption and life expectancy. We find large returns both in terms of longevity (4.1 years additional years at age 51), reduction in the prevalence of various health conditions (10-15 percentage points reduction in diabetes and 5 percentage points for stroke) and health care consumption (27.3% reduction in lifetime hospital stays, 19.7 for specialists). We find that education impacts mortality mostly by delaying the incidence of health conditions as well as providing a survival advantage conditional on having diseases. Second, we provide quasi-experimental evidence on the impact of college attendance on long-term health outcomes by exploiting the Canadian Veteran's Rehabilitation Act, a program targeted towards returning WW-II veterans and which incentivized college attendance. The impact on mortality are found to be larger than those estimated from the health microsimulation model (hazard ratio of 0.216 compared to 0.6 in the simulation model) which suggests substantial returns to college education in terms of healthy life extension which we estimate to be approximately one million Canadian dollars.

Keywords: mortality, education, microsimulation, quasi-experimental, instrumental variables, veterans

JEL Classification: I26, I28, J1

Suggested Citation

Lacroix, Guy and Laliberté-Auger, Francois and Michaud, Pierre-Carl and Parent, Daniel, The Effect of College Education on Health and Mortality: Evidence from Canada. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12812, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3503762

Guy Lacroix (Contact Author)

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Francois Laliberté-Auger

HEC Montreal

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Montreal
Canada

Pierre-Carl Michaud

University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 8888, Downtown Station
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3P8
Canada

Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi (CIRPÉE) ( email )

Pavillon De Sève
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4
Canada

RAND Corporation, Labor and Population ( email )

Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

Netspar ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Daniel Parent

McGill University - Department of Economics ( email )

855 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, QC H3A 2T7
Canada
514-398-4846 (Phone)
514-398-4938 (Fax)

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