February 2018

IZA DP No. 11353: The Causal Effect of Education on Chronic Health Conditions

published as 'The causal effect of education on chronic health conditions in the UK' in: Journal of Health Economics, 2020, 70, 102252

Studies using education policy reforms to isolate causal effects of education on health produce mixed evidence. We analyse an unusually large sample and study chronic health conditions. For identification, we use two major education reforms, one that raised the minimum school leaving age and one that affected the broader educational attainment distribution. This method generated precise estimates of the impact of education on a comprehensive range of health conditions. Our results indicate that extra education, at the lowest end or higher up the attainment distribution, has little impact on the prevalence of chronic illness. The one interesting exception is diabetes.