Under What Conditions is Educational Attainment Causally Related to Health/Mortality?
Exploratory Workshop Date: Friday, November 8, 2013
Time: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, 9 Bow Street, Cambridge (directions)
Overview of the workshop: In fall 2012, researchers investigating the association between educational attainment and health/mortality convened for a day at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies (Pop Center). The participants shared their recent work, discussed gaps in the current literature, and generated new ideas about how to examine whether, and under what conditions, the association is causal.
The journal Social Science & Medicine (SSM) invited the investigators to submit the papers that resulted from the workshop for a special issue on the topic (targeted publication date is winter 2014). The Pop Center has awarded additional funds for the original participants plus some additional scholars to reconvene on November 8, 2013. The aim is for everyone to once again present their work that will be submitted to the special issue for peer-review and to ensure each paper meets the theme and standards of the special issue.
Background on Educational Attainment and Health/Mortality: In the US and Europe, adults with more education live longer and healthier lives than adults with less education. Moreover, the gap in longevity across education levels widened during the last half century. During the 1990s alone, the gap in life expectancy at age 25 increased 1-2 years (depending on race and gender) between adults who attained at least some college education and adults with fewer years of schooling. By 2000, adults with at least some college could expect to live 5-9 years longer than their less-educated peers. These disparities have received increasing attention among scholars and policy makers. Reducing health disparities by socioeconomic status is a major component of the Healthy People initiative of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Thus, it is important to understand why the association between education and mortality exists and whether it is causal. Despite several studies on the topic, there remains some debate about this relationship. Some studies conclude that education causes better health, while others find that educational attainment is the result of being in good health, and still others show that the association is spurious.
David Cutler, Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics, Harvard University
Jennifer Montez, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Case Western Reserve University
Esther Friedman, Associate Social Scientist, RAND University
Speakers and participants:
David Baker, Professor of Education and Sociology, Penn State University
Jere Behrman, Professor of Economics, University of Pennsylvania
Lisa Berkman, Director, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies
Jason Boardman, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder
Mark Hayward, Professor of Sociology & Centennial Commission Professor in the Liberal Arts, University of Texas at Austin
Robert Hummer, Professor of Sociology & Centennial Commission Professor of Liberal Arts #1, University of Texas at Austin
Ichiro Kawachi, Chair, Dept of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public health
Hans-Peter Kohler, Frederick J. Warren Professor of Demography, University of Pennsylvania
Bruce G. Link, Professor of Epidemiology and Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia
Sze Liu, PhD, Research Analyst, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies
Ryan Masters, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder
Note that PUBLICATIONS relevant to this workshop will be posted on this page.
This workshop is open to the Harvard Community (faculty, researchers, fellows, and students). As seating is quite limited, we ask you to RSVP with your name and Harvard affiliation to Laura Price at email@example.com. Once seating runs out, you will be put on the waiting list.