College Access and Adult Health
Thursday, November 7, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Plaza Exhibits (Sheraton Denver Downtown)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
We investigate the relationship between college openings, college attainment, and health behaviors and outcomes later in life. Though a large prior literature attempts to isolate the causal effect of education on health via instrumental variables (IV), most studies use instruments that affect schooling behavior in childhood or adolescence, i.e. before the college enrollment decision. Our paper examines whether an increase in public and private 2 and 4-year institutions per capita (“college accessibility”) in a state contributes to higher college attainment and better health later in life. We find consistent evidence that accessibility of public 2-year institutions positively affects schooling attainment and subsequent employment and earnings levels. However, we do not find evidence of protective effects of schooling on self-reported health or behaviors such as smoking, heavy drinking, exercise, and obesity.