Education, Health and Cognitive Abilities

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The large and positive association between education and many health outcomes is well-documented but what drives this association is still a matter of discussion in the literature. Exploiting the time and geographical exogenous variation in compulsory schooling laws across 6 European countries this paper shows evidence of large and positive effects of the additional year of schooling induced by these policies only on men's self reported health, depression and memory in old age. Furthermore, results suggest that these effects come mainly through an improvement in men's working conditions with small or no role played by income and health related behaviors. On the other hand, since women affected by compulsory school reforms show a very low labor force attachment, they do not show similar spillovers. These policies only have mixed effects on women's health related behaviors. In particular, affected women show a lower probability of being overweight, but also a higher probability of having ever smoked. The results of this paper have been published in Social Science and Medicine.

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