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Education and life-expectancy and how the relationship is mediated through changes in behaviour: a principal stratification approach for hazard rates

Govert Bijwaard () and Andrew Jones ()

Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers from HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York

Abstract: We investigate the causal impact of education on life-expectancy using data for England and Wales from the Health and Lifestyles Survey and how that impact is mediated through changes in health behaviour (smoking, exercise, having breakfast). For identification of the educational gain in mortality we employ a Regression Discontinuity Design implied by an increase in the minimum school leaving age in 1947 (from 14 to 15) together with a principal stratification method for the mortality hazard rate. This method allows us to derive the direct and indirect (through one or more mediators) effect of education on the implied life-expectancy. Basic maximum likelihood estimation of a standard Gompertz hazard model for the mortality rate suggests that staying in school beyond age 15 years significantly increases life-expectancy by more than 14 years, with large indirect effects running through smoking and exercise. In contrast, estimates from the principal strata method indicate that the educational gain is much smaller (and statistically insignificant) for those who were induced to remain in school beyond age 15. The direct effect of education is even negative for females (but statistically insignificant). Neither, do we find statistically significant indirect effects of education on mortality running through health behaviour.

Keywords: regression discontinuity design; education; mortality; principal strata (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C41 I14 I24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur and nep-hea
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Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:19/05