Education, Cognition, Health Knowledge, and Health Behavior
Using data from the NLSY97 we analyze the impact of education on health behaviors, measured by smoking and heavy drinking. Controlling for health knowledge does not influence the impact of education on health behaviors, supporting the productive efficiency hypothesis. Although cognition, as measured by test scores, appears to have an effect on the relationship between education and health behaviors, this effect disappears once the models control for family fixed effects. Similarly, the impact of education on smoking and heavy drinking is the same between those with and without a learning disability, suggesting that cognition is not likely to be a significant factor in explaining the impact of education on health behaviors.
The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.