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The Causal Effect of Education on Body Mass: Evidence from Europe

Giorgio Brunello, Daniele Fabbri and Margherita Fort
Journal of Labor Economics
Vol. 31, No. 1 (January 2013), pp. 195-223
DOI: 10.1086/667236
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/667236
Page Count: 29
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The Causal Effect of Education on Body Mass: Evidence from Europe
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Abstract

We adopt a multi-country setup to show that years of schooling have a causal protective effect on the body mass index of females living in nine European countries. No such effect is found for males. The protective effect for European females is not negligible but is smaller than one recently found for the United States and stronger among overweight females. We discuss possible mechanisms justifying both the protective role of education and the gender difference in this role. We argue that the effects of additional schooling on income, the probability of employment, and the frequency of vigorous physical activities, both on and off the job, may help explain our results.

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