Education and health#(in French)
Recent studies have tried to provide rigorous tests of causal effects of education levels on health status. Some of these studies show a significant causal impact of school-leaving age on mortality at later ages: their empirical strategy consists in using exogenous shocks on education levels resulting from changes in compulsory schooling regulations. Data from Insee's Permanent Demographic Dataset can be used to attempt transposing this strategy to the French case. The two identifying shocks used are the Zay and Berthoin reforms. They have respectively raised the minimum school leaving age to 14 and 16 years. After having detailed the methological framework, we successively implement a non-parametric approach comparing cohorts born immediately before or immediately after the application of reforms, and a parametric two-stage approach using information from a larger part of our sample. None of these approaches confirm results of existing studies. Despite the fact that reforms have significantly increased school leaving ages, and despite the fact that subsequent declines in mortality have been observed, none of these declines appear to be significant. We conclude with a discussion on possible limitations of these two reforms as identifying devices, and make some suggestions for future research.