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This paper sheds light on the causal relationship between education and health outcomes. It combines three surveys (SHARE, HRS and ELSA) that include nationally representative samples of people aged 50 and over from thirteen OECD countries. It uses variation in the timing of educational reforms across these countries as an instrument for education. Using IV-Probit models, it finds causal evidence that more years of education lead to a lower probability of reporting poor health and lower prevalence for diabetes and hypertension. These effects are larger than those from the Probit, that do not control for the endogeneity of education. The relationship between education and cancer is positive in both Probit and IV-Probit models. The causal impacts of education on other chronic conditions as well as functional status are not established using IV-Probit models.

This paper series was made possible by the NIA funded RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the NICHD funded RAND Population Research Center.

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