June 2024

IZA DP No. 17050: The Effects of Compulsory Schooling on Health and Hospitalization over the Life Cycle

This paper examines the effects of education on health and hospitalization over the life cycle. Using administrative data, we leverage a 1972 compulsory schooling reform within the United Kingdom which produced a large increase in educational attainment among affected cohorts. Our regression discontinuity design estimates suggest that the reform led to substantial reductions in hospitalization among men admitted for lifestyle-related conditions. We also report novel estimates showing that these effects vary heterogeneously over the life-cycle – with the largest health improvements occurring among men in their middle-aged years. However, we find no evidence that the reform impacted mortality during working-age years.