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The interaction between health, education and life outcomes from childhood to adulthood

de Araujo Roland, Daniel (2018) The interaction between health, education and life outcomes from childhood to adulthood. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:69324)

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This thesis is formed of three empirical chapters using data from the United Kingdom. The

chapters do not build on one another. Instead, they are self-contained and explore different

facets of the interaction between health and education, how they affect each other and how they

affect other life outcomes. Education and health are well known to be correlated since the

second half of the 20th century with the works from Coleman (1966), Kitagawa and Hauser

(1973) and Grossman (1976). Many studies have followed, exploring different aspects of this

correlation and the thesis aims to provide further information on two of the hypothesis that

explain this correlation. The first states that education affects health as people gain skills and

knowledge enabling them to make better decisions regarding their health. The second

hypothesis suggests that health can affect educational performance as shown by Glewwe et al.

(2001) and Bobonis et al. (2006) among many others. The thesis also focus on how health and

education each affects other life outcomes, not just one another. This leads to a greater

understanding of the importance of health and education. As the three chapters analyse

different aspects of the same topic, some information overlap can be found in each of them,

despite each one having different a focus.

The first chapter explores the returns to education from a non-monetary, or non-economic,

perspective. Following the UK's higher education tuition fees increase in 2012, the importance

of understanding what are the returns to education increased as individuals conduct a costbenefits

analysis before deciding whether or not to pursue higher education. If the costs are

increasing, it is important to understand what are the benefits. However, most studies assessing

returns to education focus on monetary returns. The impact on health status and health

behaviour, for example, is considered a wider return. And this is the focus of this chapter and

its main contribution - what are the effects of having a degree on health outcomes and

behaviour? And do these effects differ according to the type of degrees? By combining both

economic and non-economic returns to education, individuals can truly assess the benefits of

pursuing higher education and make a more informed decision, reducing information

asymmetry and having an equilibrium that is closer to the socially optimum. In order to achieve

this objective this chapter made use of the National Child Development Study (NCDS), a

British survey that started in 1958 and is following cohort members as they progress through

life. Using information on health status and behaviour as outcome variables from each survey

from 1981 to 2008, together with the individuals' higher education condition, the results

showed a clear positive impact. Having a degree increased self-reported quality of health and

decreased the incidence of malaises and smoking frequency. The analysis of different degrees

showed no evidence that the wider benefits from higher education differed across degrees,

unlike the results for economic returns.

The second chapter is focused on mental health at an early age and its impact on future life

outcomes. Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevailing

mental illnesses in young people, accounting for half the cases of mental disorders. Mental

health has slowly gained attention in the health economics literature as now most developed countries managed to secure good health standards for children. Therefore, the main

contribution from this chapter is providing further knowledge of how one of the most common

mental disorders affects individuals throughout the course of their lives by using a number of

outcome variables ranging from labour market outcomes to physical health status and

behaviour. This chapter used data from the British Cohort Study (BCS70), a survey that started

in 1970. It is the third longitudinal study in the UK and contains a rich socioeconomic

questionnaire, including information that allows for the identification of children potentially

diagnosed with ADHD according to the definitions of the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and

Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). The effects of ADHD can be seen early on

in educational achievements as individuals with ADHD are less likely to have a higher degree

or an equivalent vocational qualification, and the effects can extend to later life outcomes such

as a greater likelihood of unemployment, employment at part-time jobs, lower probability of

being in a managerial position and lower income.

The third chapter in this thesis aimed at evaluating the effects of health shocks in educational

outcomes at an early age. There is robust evidence that health conditions affect academic

performance, especially at an early age. However, most of the evidence comes from developing

countries where the variance of health status among children is much greater than in developed

countries. There are a few exceptions such as Ding et al. (2009), but the unbalance is clear. The

purpose of this work is, therefore, to use one of the newest information available in the UK to

fill the gap in knowledge. The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) is the first longitudinal study

of the new millennium. It started in 2000-2001 with the purpose to continue UK's long

established tradition in collecting information to help guide public policy. The results from the

chapter show that the period of life in which children are affected by a transitory health shock

is important to determine how much their performance in tests is affected. Children who

reported a longstanding illness in the twelve months leading up to their eleventh birthday were

mildly affected in comparison to healthy children between ages seven and eleven. When

comparing the same children at the age of fourteen, when both groups were healthy, there was

no evidence of any differences in performance. However, when comparing children with a

longstanding illness in the twelve months leading up to age fourteen with children who were

healthy between ages eleven and fourteen, there was a significant negative effect, suggesting

that longstanding illnesses affect children differently according to the period of their lives.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Barde, Sylvain
Uncontrolled keywords: health, education, life outcomes
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Economics
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2018 10:10 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 07:48 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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