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Education and adult health: Is there a causal effect?

Pedro Albarrán, Marisa Hidalgo-Hidalgo () and Inigo Iturbe-Ormaetxe ()

Social Science & Medicine, 2020, vol. 249, issue C

Abstract: Many studies find a strong positive correlation between education and adult health. A subtler question is whether this correlation can be interpreted as a causal relationship. We combine multi-country data from two cross-sections of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey and use exogenous variation in compulsory years of schooling across countries and cohorts induced by compulsory schooling laws. We find no causal effect of education on any of our several health measures. This finding is extremely robust to different changes in our main specification and holds using other databases. We discuss different explanations for our results.

Keywords: Health; Education; Instrumental variables (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.112830

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