Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 673–701 | Cite as

The health returns to schooling—what can we learn from twins?

Original Paper


This paper estimates the health returns to schooling, using a twin design. For this purpose, I use data on monozygotic twins from the Midlife in the United States survey. The results suggest that completing high school improves health, as measured through self-reported health, chronic conditions, and exercise behavior, but that additional schooling does not lead to additional health gains. Controlling for certain early life factors that may vary within twin pairs does not alter the main conclusions of this paper.


Health production Education Schooling Twins  Returns to education Ability bias 

JEL Classification

I12 I11 J14 



The author would like to thank the seminar participants at the American Society of Health Economists, European Association of Labour Economists, Erasmus University, European Economic Association, University of Mannheim, Uppsala University, Lund University, and Swedish Institute for Social Research for their valuable comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.VU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.IZABonnGermany
  4. 4.Tinbergen InstituteAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Health Economics Program LundLundSweden
  6. 6.Centre for Economic Demography LundLundSweden

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