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Xindong Xue, Mingmei Cheng and Wangyongxin Zhang

Journal of Economic Surveys, 2021, vol. 35, issue 1, 71-105

Abstract: While numerous studies assess the relationship between education and health, no consensus has been reached on whether education really improves health. We perform a meta‐analysis of 4866 estimates gleaned from 99 published studies that examine the health effects of education. We find that the current literature suffers from moderate publication bias towards the positive effects of education on health. After correcting for publication bias with an array of sophisticated methods, we find that the overall effect size is practically zero, indicating that education generates no discernible benefits to health. The heterogeneity analysis by Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) and Frequentist Model Averaging (FMA) reveals that the reported estimates can be largely explained by whether the econometric models control for endogeneity of education, the types of data and the differences in health measurements. Our results also suggest that education may not be an effective policy option for promoting population health.

Date: 2021
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