CCHE Seminar: Education and Health Over the Life Cycle

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Robert Kaestner
University of Chicago

Friday, April 5th, 2019, 10 AM – 12 PM, HS 412 (155 College Street)

Abstract: In this article, we extend the Grossman (1972) model to analyze the effect of education on health over the life cycle. The main conclusion from our model is that it is unlikely that the relationship between education and health will be constant over the life cycle. We also present an extensive empirical analysis documenting the association between education and health over the life cycle. Results of our analysis indicate that education has a beneficial effect on health and mortality, but that those benefits do not manifest until middle age (e.g., ages 50 to 60). In addition, most of the beneficial effect of education stems from obtaining a high school degree or more. It is the health and mortality of lowest education group—those with less than a high school degree—that diverges from the health and mortality of other education groups. We also found suggestive evidence that selective mortality may cause educational differences in morbidity to narrow after age 65. Finally, we find that the effects of education on health have tended to become larger for more recent birth cohorts.

Robert Kaestner is a Research Professor in the University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy. Dr. Kaestner is also a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, an Affiliated Scholar of the Urban Institute and a Senior Fellow of the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy of USC. Prior to joining Harris, Dr. Kaestner was on the faculty of the University of Illinois, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of California, Riverside, the CUNY Graduate Center and Baruch College (CUNY). Dr. Kaestner received his Ph.D. in Economics from the City University of New York. He received his BA and MA from Binghamton University (SUNY). Dr. Kaestner’s areas of research interest are the economic and social determinants of health, health demography, and health, labor and social policy evaluation. He has published over 125 articles in academic journals. Recent studies have been awarded Article of the Year by AcademyHealth in 2011 and the 2012 Frank R. Breul Memorial Prize for the best publication in Social Services Review. Dr. Kaestner has also been the Principal Investigator on several NIH grants focused on Medicare and Medicaid policy. Dr. Kaestner is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Health Economics and the American Journal of Health Economics, and on the Editorial Board of Demography and Journal of Policy Analysis & Management.