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Understanding the Mechanisms Linking College Education with Longevity

Kai Hong, Peter Savelyev () and Kegon Tan

Journal of Human Capital, 2020, vol. 14, issue 3, 371 - 400

Abstract: We go beyond estimating the effect of college education on longevity by uncovering the mechanisms behind this effect while controlling for latent skills and unobserved heterogeneity. We decompose the effect with respect to a large set of potential mechanisms, including health behaviors, lifestyles, earnings, and work conditions. On the basis of data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Survey, we show that the effect of education on longevity is well explained by observed mechanisms. Furthermore, we find that for women, the positive effect of education on longevity has been historically masked by the negative effect of education on marriage. We discuss implications for longevity and health inequality.

Date: 2020
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