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Inside the Health and Education Gradient: High School Grades and Health Care Utilization

a PSC Small Fund Research Project

Investigator:   Lauren Nicholas

Dramatic differences in life expectancy and self-reported health status across levels of educational attainment have been well-documented in the United States, Canada and Europe (see Cutler and Lleras-Muney, 2009 for a summary). This may have severe consequences for health status over the life course and affect the living conditions in older age groups. While research increasingly suggests a separate role for cognitive ability in mediating this relationship, relatively few studies have had access to separate measures of student ability, particularly those measured at the time of educational decisions (Auld and Sidhu, 2005). Furthermore, studies typically lack access to comprehensive information about health and health care utilization. The Linneaus database offers the opportunity to extend this literature in several directions. Annual vital statistics, Census and inpatient hospitalization discharge abstracts can be linked to high school grade data for the entire graduating class of 1988. This project uses linked Swedish data to describe the relationships between high school grades and educational attainment and early mortality and hospital utilization.

Funding Period: 02/01/2011 to 06/30/2012

Country of Focus: Sweden

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