Potente, C., Präg, P. & Monden, C. (2020) SocArXiv Papers, [ONS LS]
Other information: Abstract:
Parents with better-educated children are healthier and live longer, but whether there is a causal effect of children’s education on their parents’ health and longevity is still unclear. Previous research has been largely associational and was thus not able to account for all circumstances that confound children’s education and parental longevity. First, we demonstrate an association between adults' offspring education and parental mortality in the 1958 British birth cohort study, which remains substantial - about two additional years of life - even when only comparing parents with similar socio-economic status. Second, we use the 1972 educational reform in England and Wales, which increased the minimum school leaving age from 15 to 16 years, to identify the presence of a causal effect of children’s education on parental health and longevity using census-linked data from the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study (ONS-LS). Results reveal that children’s education has only very limited causal effects on a wide range of outcomes related to parental mortality and health. We interpret these findings against the backdrop of universal and free health care and the role of education in socio-economic inequality in Great Britain.