Journal article

No evidence for a protective effect of education on mental health

Sarah C Dahmann, Daniel D Schnitzlein

Social Science & Medicine | Elsevier BV | Published : 2019

Abstract

This paper analyzes whether education has a protective effect on mental health. To estimate causal effects, we employ an instrumental variable (IV) technique that exploits a reform extending compulsory schooling by one year implemented between 1949 and 1969 in West Germany. We complement analyses on the Mental Component Summary (MCS) score as a generic measure of overall mental health with an MCS-based indicator for risk of developing symptoms of mental health disorder and a continuous measure of subjective well-being. Results support existing evidence of a positive relationship between completed years of secondary schooling and mental health in standard OLS estimations. In contrast, the IV ..

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Grants

Awarded by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the title "Nicht-monetare Enrage von Bildung in den Bereichen Gesundheit, nichtkognitive Fahigkeiten sowie gesellschaftliche und politische Partizipation"


Awarded by Australian Research Council through the Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course


Funding Acknowledgements

Dahmann and Schnitzlein acknowledge funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the title "Nicht-monetare Enrage von Bildung in den Bereichen Gesundheit, nichtkognitive Fahigkeiten sowie gesellschaftliche und politische Partizipation"(FKZ: NIMOERT2/Kassenzeichen: 8103036999784/#30857). Dahmann also acknowledges funding from the Australian Research Council through the Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (project number CE140100027). This paper uses data from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) for years 1984-2016; version 33.1, SOEP, 2018, doi:10.5684/soep.v33.1. We thank Falk Voit for excellent research assistance and Britta Augsburg, Colin Cameron, Aileen Edele, Daniel Kemptner, C. Katharina Spief3, Kristof de Witte, two anonymous reviewers, and seminar and conference participants at DIW Berlin, the University of Hamburg, ZEW Mannheim, the Berlin Network of Labor Market Research, Maastricht University, the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne, DZHW Hannover, the Microeconomics Workshop Luneburg, the Australian/New Zealand Labour Econometric Workshop 2017, the Workshop on the Economics of Health and Wellbeing at Monash University 2018, ESPE 2017, VfS 2017, EALE 2017, SES 2018, RES 2018, and the 2017 meeting of the standing committee for economics of education of the VfS for helpful comments and discussions.