Education, Information, and Improved Health: Evidence from Breast Cancer Screening

56 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2008

See all articles by M. Keith Chen

M. Keith Chen

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management

Fabian Lange

Yale University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

While it is well known that education strongly predicts health, less is known as to why. One reason might be that education improves health-care decision making. In this paper we attempt to disentangle improved decision making from other effects of education, and to quantify how large an impact it has on both a patient's demand for health services, and that demand's sensitivity to objective risk factors. We do this by estimating a simple structural model of information acquisition and health decisions for data on women's self-reported breast-cancer risk and screening behavior. This allows us to separately identify differences in the ability to process health information and differences in overall demand for health. Our results suggest that the observed education gradient in screening stems from a higher willingness-to-pay for health among the educated, but that the main reason why the educated respond more to risk factors in their screening decision is because they are much better informed about the risk factors they face.

Keywords: education, allocative efficiency, health

JEL Classification: I10, I12, I20, D83

Suggested Citation

Chen, Keith and Lange, Fabian, Education, Information, and Improved Health: Evidence from Breast Cancer Screening. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3548, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1145927 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x

Keith Chen (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty/keith.chen/index.html

Fabian Lange

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8264
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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