Does Higher Education Reduce Mortality? Evidence from a Natural Experiment

75 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2020 Last revised: 3 May 2021

See all articles by Maria Angelica Bautista

Maria Angelica Bautista

University of Chicago

Felipe González

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile - Institute of Economics

Luis R. Martinez

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Pablo Munoz

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics

Mounu Prem

Universidad del Rosario

Date Written: October 23, 2020

Abstract

We provide new evidence on the causal effect of education on health. Our empirical strategy exploits the reduction in access to college experienced by individuals reaching college age shortly after the 1973 military coup in Chile, which led to a sharp downward kink in enrollment for the affected cohorts. Using data from the vital statistics for the period 1994-2017, we document an upward kink in the age-adjusted yearly mortality rate for these cohorts, a pattern that we also observe in matched individual-level records for hospitalized patients. Leveraging the downward kink in college enrollment, we estimate a negative effect of college on mortality, which is larger for men, but also sizable for women. Affected individuals have worse labor market outcomes, lower income, and are more likely to be enrolled in the public health system. They also report lower consumption of health services, which suggests that economic disadvantage and limited access to care plausibly contribute to the effect of education on health.

Keywords: Higher Education, Mortality, Chile

JEL Classification: I12, I14, I26

Suggested Citation

Bautista, Maria Angelica and González, Felipe and Martinez, Luis and Munoz, Pablo and Prem, Mounu, Does Higher Education Reduce Mortality? Evidence from a Natural Experiment (October 23, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3717849 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3717849

Maria Angelica Bautista

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Felipe González

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile - Institute of Economics ( email )

Casilla 76
Correo 17
Santiago
Chile

Luis Martinez

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Pablo Munoz

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

579 Evans Hall
Berkeley, CA 94709
United States

Mounu Prem (Contact Author)

Universidad del Rosario ( email )

Casa Pedro Fermín
Calle 14 # 4-69
Bogota
Colombia

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
61
Abstract Views
459
rank
436,593
PlumX Metrics