Discussion Papers, Center for European Governance and Economic Development Research 172
This study presents a novel view on education and health behavior of individuals constrained by aging bodies. The aging process, i.e. the accumulation of health deficits over time, is built on recent insights from gerontology. The loss of body functionality, which eventually leads to death, can be accelerated by unhealthy behavior and delayed through health expenditure. Education is endogenous and determined, among others thing, by cognitive ability. The proposed theory rationalizes why better educated persons optimally choose a healthier lifestyle. The model is calibrated for the average male US citizen. In the benchmark case a difference in cognitive ability that motivates one more year of education leads to an increase of longevity by about half a year. Progress in medical technology explains why the education gradient gets larger over time.
schooling aging longevity health expenditure unhealthy behavior smoking