The Long-Term Cognitive and Schooling Effects of Childhood Vaccinations in China
By exploiting rich retrospective data on childhood immunization, socioeconomics, and health status in China (the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study), we assess the long-term effects of childhood vaccination on cognitive and educational outcomes in that country. To do so, we apply various techniques (e.g., propensity score and coarsened exact matching and correlated random effects) to different sets of conditioning variables and subsamples to estimate the average treatment on the treated effect of childhood vaccination. Our results confirm that vaccinations before the age of 15 have long-term positive and economically meaningful effects on nonhealth outcomes such as education and cognitive skills. These effects are relatively strong, with vaccinated individuals enjoying about one more year of schooling and performing substantially better later in life on several cognitive tests.
Research reported in this working paper was supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (Award Number P30AG024409) and also by the Value of Vaccination Research Network (VoVRN), which is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Grant OPP1158136). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the official views of the National Institutes of Health, the VoVRN, or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We are also grateful to Arindam Nandi and Silvio Traverso for their comments and suggestions on an earlier version of this manuscript. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.