ASU Research: Higher Education Levels Tied to Better Health

It's not exactly shocking that those with higher educations generally earn more money. But a paper published through the National Bureau of Economic Research also finds that those with a higher education are generally healthier as well.

Researchers from ASU, the University of Chicago, and the University of Maryland measured levels of education against factors including pay, daily smoking, self-esteem, and physical health. They found that as education increased, so did people's pay, health, and self-esteem, while smoking rates fell. Gregory Veramendi, one of the researchers on the study, attributes the correlation in part to a greater information access.

"One of the principle reasons is more information," Veramendi says. "People are learning [how to be healthier] in their programs, either through coursework or through others that have that information."

While those with higher education generally earn more money, other factors may come into play. The study also found that people gain different benefits from higher education depending on their ability levels, and it doesn't necessarily result in higher pay.

"When considering the benefits of a four-year degree, only high-ability individuals gain higher wages, while only low-ability individuals gain higher self-esteem," the report says.

Veramendi didn't expect ability to influence higher wages as much as it does, but says the results make sense.

"There's a sense in which the observed effect of education is also the causal effect," Veramendi says. "[People] are really getting a higher education because of higher ability, which affects wages."

To see the full report, click here.

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Sarah Dinell
Contact: Sarah Dinell