Chapters (Layout Features)

Consequences in Health Status and Costs

Muennig, Peter A.

People with more education typically live longer and healthier lives. High school graduates, for example, live about six to nine years longer than high school dropouts. They also are less likely to suffer from illness or disability in a variety of forms. In this chapter I seek to measure these benefits in dollar terms. I focus on the association between educational attainment and (1) reductions in morbidity and mortality and (2) reductions in government spending on health care. I examine these effects using a large, comprehensive health data set, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, covering the non-institutionalized civilian population in the United States. On the basis of conservative assumptions, I conclude that each additional high school graduate represents a health-related gain to the government of at least $39,000 in discounted lifetime medical expenditures. Monetized gains in health and longevity amount to an additional $183,000. I also discuss the limitations of this analysis.


Also Published In

The Price We Pay: Economic and Social Consequences of Inadequate Education
Brookings Institution Press

More About This Work

Academic Units
Health Policy and Management
Published Here
November 9, 2016