Date

2016

Department or Program

Economics

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Courtney Coile

Additional Advisor(s)

Sari Kerr

Abstract

An individual’s education and health status are closely correlated, but the causal pathway between an increase in education and health outcomes has remained largely elusive in empirical work. I explore how an increase in education affects long-term health outcomes by exploiting the removal of the Social Security Student Benefit program in 1982 as an instrument for college attendance and completion in a two-stage least squares model. The outcomes of interest include likelihood of poor self-reported health, pain that interferes with work, arthritis, mental health, hypertension, heart problems, diabetes, smoking, and exercising. I am unable to reject increases or decreases in one’s health outcomes or behaviors. My findings are inconclusive due to insufficient statistical power, which stems from a small sample size.

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