Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Lund University, Department of Economics

No 2020:7: The Health Returns of University Eligibility

Gawain Heckley (), Martin Nordin () and Ulf-G. Gerdtham ()
Additional contact information
Gawain Heckley: Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Sweden
Martin Nordin: AgriFood Economics Centre, Lund University
Ulf-G. Gerdtham: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: This paper exploits an arbitrary university eligibility rule in Sweden combined with regression discontinuity to estimate the impact of university education on health derived demand for medical care. We find a clear jump in university attendance due to university eligibility of between 10 and 14 percentage points. For females this implies a 30-40% drop in self-harm. For males it coincides with reduced use of prescribed pain killers, implying reduced risky behaviour. Males also observe a 30% increase in mental disorders, almost exclusively related to alcohol. The spillovers of university education on to health for the marginal student are therefore significant.

Keywords: Health returns to education; demand for medical care; Regression Discontinuity Design

JEL-codes: I10; I23; I26

35 pages, April 24, 2020

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